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Beyond the Textbook

Science in Popular Literature

Course Information

Course Description
In this course, students will read, discuss, and explore the foundations and implications of science literature written for a popularaudience. The books chosen for this course vary from semester to semester and will be chosen to cover a broad, interdisciplinaryrange of perspectives in STEM. The books selected will provide insight into the pursuit of objective truth, while providing the lens thatscience is done and implemented by individuals and societies, and therefore has ethical, moral, and social implications.
Lecture(2 hrs). 2.0 Credit Hours.
Meeting Times (Spring 2021)
Lecture: F 10:00 AM - 11:50 PM in Remote

Faculty Information

Dr. Greg Anderson (Physics)
Dr. John Kasmer (Biology)
Office Hours
TBA Also posted here and by appointment in 217C BBH.
Contact Information

Course Materials

Required Book
Merchants of Doubt: Cover photo Merchants of Doubt, by Naomi Oreskes and Eric Conway 2016.
Publisher's Desription: In their book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. In seven compelling chapters addressing tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming, and DDT, Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.
Study Materials
Your study materials for this course include the required textbook, the handouts, and any notes and annotations that you take. These assignments and materials can be found on the study guide.
As you use these materials, be an active learner. Take notes on your assigned readings. If you make your own synopsis of these readings - you are an active learner. If you uses someone else's summary - you are engaging in passive learning. Numerous academic studies on learning have repeatedly shown that active learning beats passive learning. Summarizing the course material and organizing your thinking about the content provided is an essential part of the learning process. No one can do this for you without compromising your learning. When you have made your own summary verify that you can answer questions provided in the study guide.
Other Useful References:

Assignments and Expectations

Goals and Learning Outcomes
The Learning Outcomes for this course align with the expectations for Engaged Learning Experiences and with NEIU's Baccalaureate Goals.
Time Commitment
We cover two credit hours worth of material in this course. For university courses, the canonical expectation is that students should spend at least two to three hours per week outside of class for every hour of class time. That means you should be spending at least four to six hours every week (outside of class time) reading, making notes from the assigned readings, and completing assingments. Please consult the study guide for these assignments. There is a very large correlation between the time you put into this course and performance on course assessments.
Assigned Reading
The schedule and study guide page lists the chapters to be covered each week. You should read the chapters when the are assigned. Take notes on the reading and make your own summary of the important points. Many of the questions on the quizzes and will be taken or adapted from the review questions at the end of the lecture notes.
Attendance & Absence Policy
Class Meetings: Participation is a big part of this course, and attendence will be noted; be aware that any class participation points cannot be earned or made up if you are not present in class. Many class sessions may introuce material that is not covered in your textbook, so it is important that you attend every meeting.

Additional Information

Electronics Policy
Any use of electronic devices during quizzes or exams will be considered cheating.
Academic Integrity
By enrolling in this course, you are bound by the NEIU Student Code of Conduct (HTML), (PDF).
ADA Statement
Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in making reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. To request accommodations, students with special needs should make arrangements with the Student Disability Services (SDS) office, located on the main campus in room D104. Contact SDS via (773) 442-4595 or
Campus Safety
Emergency Procedures and Safety Information can be found on NEIUport on the MyNEIU tab or at:
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