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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Robin Elizabeth Spayde
B CUSP 119
Bothell Campus

Discovery Core III: The Portfolio and Experiential Learning

Evaluates progress at the conclusion of the first year through the construction of a portfolio and offers an experiential learning opportunity, either on- or off-campus. Prerequisite: either B CUSP 115, B CUSP 116, or B CUSP 117; may not be repeated. Offered: Sp.

Class description

This focuses on topics in science and technology that appear in the news. It contains four overview seminars on technology, interpretation, and controversy surrounding provocative scientific topics. We will analyze news stories that depend on scientific interpretation, and examine the media narratives and memes that result. The overview seminars include analyses of common logical fallacies that appear in the news, and will focus on real media narratives, such as climate, energy in a modernizing world, and the technology of surveillance.

The remaining time is spent on portfolio workshop activities. This part of the course will focus on reflection and building the portfolio. We will alternate topical and portfolio workshops from the beginning of the course, and gradually work toward a finished project at the end.

Student learning goals

Identify logical fallacies as they appear in the news media.

Discuss sources of uncertainty in scientific results, and understand how they impact validity.

Understand how statements of scientific validity are misinterpreted by the media.

Perform approximate risk analyses for scientific topics that appear in the news, for example, tallying and comparing the health impacts of nuclear power vs. coal fired power generation.

Use available tools to create a positive and impactful online persona.

Organize and write a supported, thesis driven reflection paper.

General method of instruction

Lecture and student workshop assignments will be the primary tools for instruction. The portfolio will be the center of the course, and the workshops will include assignments designed to help each student build their DC III portfolio.

Recommended preparation

People who have no prior exposure to physics and chemistry can succeed in this course.

Class assignments and grading

The student will participate in regular workshops, and complete assigned material for a grade. There will be topic workshops that stand on their own, and portfolio workshops that will gradually guide the student to their finished portfolio.

The course grade depends on the student's completion and performance in the workshop activities, and their final portfolio. Major assignments include:

Homework, based on topic seminars or portfolio preparation.

Participation in regular peer review.

A midterm reflection paper (separate from the portfolio reflection)

A final reflection paper.

The first year portfolio.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Robin Elizabeth Spayde
Date: 01/28/2013