published September 5, 2013

2013 SENCER National Models Selected:

New Projects Addressing Computer Technology and Use of New Media Added to SENCER Model Series

Eliza Reilly, NCSCE

The newest SENCER models continue to highlight faculty innovation and creativity in improving student learning by linking STEM content to civic problems of immediate relevance and concern.

TechEP – An Emerging Model of Curricular Integration was submitted by Herbert Schanker, Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department of the College of Staten Island, in collaboration with colleagues Professors Sarah Zelikovitz, Donna Scimeca, Albert Mullayev, and Chang Guo. Today, citizens require a basic knowledge of computer science and technology to respond to many pressing civic issues, including mass internet surveillance and data collection programs, the reliability of electronic voting machines, government oversight of internet activity, and copyright laws governing music, book and video downloads, to name a few. The Technical Education Program at CUNY uses this website to link a basic Intro Computer Technology course to a wealth of content and materials, including newspaper articles, videos, websites, and other digitized content, that explore the civic, ethical, and political questions raised by our rapidly expanding technological capacity.

While TechEP maximizes the educational potential of digital media and web technology, Environmental Biology: Ecosystems of Southwest Florida, taught by David Green at Florida Gulf Coast University, offers students a radically embodied, hands-on, and place-based educational experience. Though off-campus field excursions, on-campus Nature Walks, and field-based data collection laboratory sessions students collect information and tackle tough questions about the future of southwest Florida's coastal watershed and its role in the quality of life for both human and animal inhabitants. As the syllabus warns, "you will get wet, muddy, hot, insect-bitten, itchy, sweaty. Be prepared!" David's ambition for the course is to combine the advantages of both field-based and web-based learning by teaching his course collaboratively with others in the SENCER community offering similar courses in coastal watersheds. Students dealing with unique local environments could interact, share knowledge, and compare data through web-based tools, broadening the context of STEM learning for everyone.

Please take a look at these two new SENCER models. Send us your feedback, and consider adding your own work to the series.