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Science for Non-science Majors

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Technological Literacy and the Non-science College Student

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1144.1 - 25.1144.13



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Paper Authors


Robert M. Brooks Temple University

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Robert Brooks is an Associate Professor of civil engineering at Temple University. He is a fellow of ASCE. His research interests are engineering education, civil engineering materials, and transportation engineering.

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Jyothsna Kavuturu

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Jyothsna K. S., Department of English, St.Joseph’s College, Bangalore, eecured a gold medal for the highest aggregate marks in the Post Graduate English Literature course at St.Joseph’s College (autonomous). K. S. has been working for the Department of English, St.Joseph’s College for almost two years now, teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate courses in English. K. S. has published papers in intramural and extramural publications and presented papers at several conventions, conferences, and

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Mehmet Cetin Temple University

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Mehmet Cetin is a doctorate candidate of civil engineering at Temple University. He has master's degree. His research interests are engineering education, civil engineering materials, and transportation engineering.

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SCIENCE FOR NON-SCIENCE MAJORSAbstractA certain level of scientific knowledge is needed for non-engineering and non-science majorsbecause their success usually demands effective use of and making informed decisions aboutscientific issues. The authors believed it was important to help their students gain the knowledgeand expertise necessary to make informed decisions about scientific issues. The need and thebelief provided the motivation for the authors to pursue this study.This paper focuses on developing a strategy for providing non-science majors with a basic levelof scientific knowledge for successfully dealing with real world technological issues.In Fall 2007 “The Environment” course was taught to non-science majors as a science corerequirement using the traditional lecture method. An experimental group was taught in spring2010 consisting of four indices: (1) learning from three hands on and minds on labs, (2) usingcloser looks, (3) case studies, and (4) development of critical thinking ability. The method ofselecting these indices is explained in the paper.The average grade of the control group was 64% and that of the experimental group was 77%, a20% improvement over the control group. The groups were significantly different with acalculated t value of 2.6. The t-test confirmed statistical improvement at significant confidencelevel with an alpha value of 0.05. Among the four indices, development of critical thinkingability was ranked by the students the highest.Even though several universities and institutions have been working on these or similar issues,this study presents two new aspects: (1) exact quantification of the improvements of the fourperformance indices supported by statistical data, and (2) the way the four indices wereintegrated in teaching.These practices can be used in other science and engineering courses. The authors plan to use thestrategy in 2 other courses over the next three years. The practices can be used in other coursesor schools with appropriate modifications in order to help our students acquire the knowledgethey need to make informed decisions about technology.

Brooks, R. M., & Kavuturu, J., & Cetin, M. (2012, June), Science for Non-science Majors Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21901

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