A new course titled “Special Topics: Citizen Science and Education” will be offered during Fall 2014 and taught by Professor of Sociology Christena Nippert-Eng in the Lewis College of Human Sciences (LCHS 285-01). The class will meet from 10 am-12:40 pm on Fridays at off-campus locations.
Scientific reasoning forms the backbone of our worldview in the United States and the cultivation of citizen scientists has been a consistent — if occasionally contested — theme in our culture. This course will look at current issues and efforts to support the development of citizen science in the U.S. (and abroad) with a particular focus on Chicago. The course will feature numerous visits to local institutions of informal science learning including museums, aquariums, zoos, a planetarium, national laboratories and other nonprofits. Students will hear from and interview design, technology, education, administrative and research professionals who work in this field. Students will be responsible for weekly readings, response papers and short research assignments as well as a semester-long project that demonstrates familiarity with the key challenges facing at least one of the institutions we visit and offering innovative solutions for meeting those challenges.