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Science for Citizens - AASCU
November 1, 2011

Science for Citizens

National Blended Course Consortium

Enhance scientific literacy by making science both interesting and relevant to students.

This course, developed by faculty at AASCU member institution Sam Houston State University (TX), demonstrates that scientific literacy can best be achieved by offering an alternative type of integrated science course to the traditional “memorize the facts” approach of science education.

The Science for Citizens course introduces students to the process of science through an approach that includes deliberative dialogue about science issues in the news and provides students with the ability to understand empirical and evidence-based research without having to relinquish their core beliefs or religion.

Requirements for success.

  • An interdisciplinary approach
  • Professional development time for faculty to embrace a “flipped classroom” approach, where class time centers on active-learning strategies, case studies, basics of argumentation, and logical fallacies
  • Time for faculty to incorporate both the knowledge and the process of science with experiential learning.
Course Impact

Documented evidence of the validity of this approach.

Critical thinking scores

increased by at least five points, according to the Critical-thinking Assessment Test (CAT) .

Increased acceptance

of scientific facts like evolution, according to the Measure of Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution. 

Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines.

Read paper.

Redesigning a General Education Science Course to Promote Critical Thinking.

Read paper.

Additional results and deeper context can be explored here.

Journal article.


program development

This program was created as part of AASCU’s National Blended Course Consortium (NBCC), which aimed to address three pressing issues in higher education—cost, access, and quality—through the development and dissemination of technology-enhanced, interdisciplinary courses for first-year undergraduates.

NBCC courses were:

  • Developed collaboratively by teams of faculty
  • Focused on complex, real-world civic issues
  • Delivered in a blended format (in-person and online)
  • Designed to be scalable, flexible, and self-sustaining

Each of the NBCC courses has a distinct set of learning objectives, while also sharing a common focus on developing students’ civic engagement, critical thinking and communication skills. For more information about this initiative and to preview some of our interactive online modules, please visit this website.

Supporting Organization

Questions about this course? Let us know.

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