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NSF funds iSchool project to enhance scientific literacy among undergraduates
NSF funds iSchool project to enhance scientific literacy among undergraduatesApril 12, 2007Margaret Costello Spillettmcostell@syr.edu
The School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University has received a $148,284 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement Program to support the project “Enhancing Scientific Data Literacy in Undergraduate Science and Technology Students.”
Jian Qin, a professor at the iSchool and director of the digital libraries program, will serve as principal investigator for the project. She will be joined by Ruth Small, professor and director of the Center for Digital Literacy, and Ph.D. student John D’Ignazio. The project is funded through March 2009.
The goal of the project is two-fold. It will create a scientific data literacy course that will teach undergraduate students to understand the fundamental concepts in scientific data and to use that data for scientific inquiry. Qin and Small will use their observations of the students’ behavior and performance throughout the course to put together a guide for replicating the course in other institutions or broader disciplinary fields.
Scientific data literacy refers to ability and skill in collecting, processing, manipulating, evaluating and using data for scientific inquiry. In an increasingly technical world, scientists must now learn to manage electronically the data generated by their studies and to judge the quality of data in order to produce reliable results.
“This project responds to the demand for scientists who are data-savvy,” Qin says. “It will create a truly interdisciplinary environment for educators and learners alike by introducing authentic, inquiry-based and self-regulated learning into the classroom. We hope to see it benefit our students as part of the future scientific workforce.”