ACM Pedagogic Resources > ACM SAIL > 2012 Seminar > Projects Under Development

Curriculum Projects Under Development

These courses, activities, and modules are currently under development by teams from the 2012 SAIL Seminar. Seminar participants can access the descriptions below and leave comments on a colleague's page. These pages are not available to the public at this time.


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Philosophy of Humans and Animals
janet mccracken
Western philosophers since Aristotleat leasthave claimed that human beings, as a species and alone among species, are capable of complex reasoning. From that premise, they have inferred a wide range of ...

"Who Speaks for Animals?"
Glenn Adelson, Lake Forest College, Environmental Studies Program

The Neuroconversations
Eric Wiertelak, Macalester College
The Neuroconversations brings together advanced neuroscience majors with advanced majors from other disciplines for a one-session seminar meeting focused on exploring the intersection of neuroscience with the other discipline. Through guided conversation inspired by shared readings of select primary literature from both neuroscience and the invited discipline, the students develop a greater appreciation of the topics discussed, and ultimately, each others' disciplined inquiry processes and path to completing a liberal arts education.

Environmental Ethics
Matt Tedesco, Philosophy, Beloit College
This course focuses on two sets of issues in environmental ethics. The first set of issues, emerging significantly from practices such as animal agriculture and animal captivity in zoos, research facilities, and other settings, concerns the moral status of non-human animals. What kind of moral consideration are non-human animals owed? Do they have rights, and if so, how extensive are those rights? As a philosophy class, our emphasis is on the analysis of concepts and the critical evaluation of arguments. Beyond gaining a familiarity with the issue of the moral status of animals (along with the second issue of the class, not discussed here, concerning global climate change), students should expect to develop their analytic and evaluative skills through in-class discussion and a range of writing assignments.

Considering Animals Senior Seminar
Kimberly Smith, Carleton College

Captured Creatures - an interdisciplinary exhibition seminar
Lesley Wright, Grinnell College
"Captured Creatures" is a model of an interdisciplinary seminar that utilizes one or more campus collections as the catalyst for both academic and curatorial learning. Using a thematic approach and selected works of art and material culture, students explore a body of knowledge, and use it to curate an exhibition. In this case, the subject was animals and the focus collection was the Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College Art Collection. Students learned different disciplinary ways of seeing, brought their training to share with the class through co-teaching, investigated animals through various disciplinary lenses, and created a multidisciplinary exhibition.

Human (Animal) Ethology
Vicki Bentley-Condit, Grinnell College
This is an independent research-centered senior seminar focusing on the evolutionary bases of human behavior within which the students learn HOW to observe humans using animal behavior observation methodology. Imbedded within the course is a module specifically on observing animal behavior. The expected learning outcomes are for students to master the basic methodology requirements and to conduct a research project where they successfully collect, analyze, and write-up (NSF grant proposal format) their data regarding human behavior from an evolutionary perspective.

Depictions of Primates in Fiction Pre- and Post-Origin of Species
Scott Legge, Macalester College
Students are asked to choose two pieces of fiction that depict or describe interactions between humans and non-human primates. The main limiting factor in their choices is that one of the works should be pre-1859 and the other should be post-1859, representing works from before and after Charles Darwin published On The Origin of Species. It is really meant as a starting point for a discussion of historic perceptions of the relationship between humans and the natural world and how those perceptions would have shaped reactions to Darwin's work. The expected learning outcomes include placing the discussion of human's place in nature in historical context and providing the students with a comfortable and interesting starting place for the more theoretically challenging discussions to come.

Envisioning Nature
Jackie Brown, Grinnell College
These course modules are part of a 1st year tutorial at Grinnell called "Envisioning Nature." Modules of the course focusing on animals include: (1) an initial series of exercises in close looking at art (that includes animals), animal behavior, and a natural environment (that including animals); (2) a reading on the depiction of animals in European art that were influenced by Darwinism; and (3) student research projects on either the use of visualization in the study of organisms or on the evolution of vision in non-human animals.



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