In touch with science and technology

Jo Kam

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Technology and applied sciences play an important role in many different aspects of society. In view of this, City University of Hong Kong (CityU) will launch a new General Education course on “Science and Technology: From Past to Future” in Semester B in 2007-08.

“This course is open to both science and non-science students. It enables students to recognise the profound importance of science and technology in our life. This integrative course will also help students to develop an appreciation for scientific inquiry and basic skills such as critical reasoning,” said Dr Alan Chan Hoi-shou, an associate professor in the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management.

The course will introduce the history and development of technology and how it affects human civilisation. The subject areas include Physical Infrastructure, Materials Science, Life and Chemical Sciences, Electrical Technology and Communications, and Computer and Information Technology.

Upon completing the course, students will be able to identify the principles of scientific methodology or reasoning as they are applied to problem-solving. Students will know how to comprehensively evaluate alternative methods or solutions, using a wide array of criteria such as technological attributes, finances, ethics and impacts on the environment.

Acquiring the prowess to analyse the relationship among science, technology and society and how they affect socio-economic developments will also be one of the learning outcomes. Dr Chan pointed out, “This course is excellent for broadening students’ knowledge of the world and getting to know experts in different areas.”

To familiarise themselves with the industry, which is essential for students studying technology-related programmes, lectures, tutorials and lab experiments will be augmented with industrial visits and field trips. Instead of examinations, students will be evaluated on a continuous basis and be graded using two integrative case study assignments and a group project.

The integrative case study is an individual assignment that provides a chance for students to demonstrate their ability to evaluate objectively, observe accurately, draw reasonable references, perceive relationships and design creative strategies to solve real life problems. The group project offers students a chance to work with fellow students to complete a task that requires them to draw conclusions based on valid evidence or proof, using the processes of scientific reasoning.

In addition to “Science and Technology: From Past to Future”, CityU will offer five other GE courses in the second semester of 2007-08, including “Chinese Cultural Heritage in Modern Perspective”, “Cinema: East and West”, “Information Management and its Social Impact”, “Rational Thinking and Creative Ideas” and “Identity and Citizenship in a Globalised World”.

For more details on GE courses, please visit http://vpue.cityu.edu.hk/ge/

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