Description of Assignments:
The descriptions of the different assignments as detailed
to the students are listed below.
Field Trip Assignment:
As you meander around the Shedd Aquarium enjoying the exhibits
and shows, consider the content, thoroughness, and impact
of what you see. I want you to critically evaluate the Shedd's
exhibits, shows, and mission, citing both positive and negative
aspects (and if negative, what could be fixed?). You are wide
open on this assignment, but here are some example questions
to consider - I will be extremely impressed if you cover a
topic or topics that are not on the list below (you do not
have to answer all three topics below; you may chose any one
or more of the following topics, modify any one or more of
the following topics, or come up with your own topic):
- Public museums and aquariums are meant to educate the
public; does the Shedd do an adequate job, and what overall
message are they getting across to the public about marine
ecology or marine organisms?
- All public institutions are currently going through major
funding crises; in light of your experience at the Shedd,
do you think the Shedd is adequately using its limited financial
resources to get their message across to the public? What
are they doing that is positive, and what areas need to
- How does the Shedd deal with human impacts on marine ecology
and organisms? Think of this from the perspective of an
educational service that the Shedd provides as well as from
the perspective of the Shedd Aquarium as a role model for
how the public should be considering and treating marine
For the assignment, write A MAXIMUM of one page on your chosen
topic. I will be looking for how deeply you've thought about
the topic and how efficiently you get your point across within
the space limitations. If it helps, imagine you are writing
this for Natural History, Discover, or American
Scientist, or are writing a short column for a newspaper.
Project (includes term paper, web page and an oral presentation)
The goals of the project are 1) to learn research strategies
and web page design; 2) to specialize in a topic of interest
relating to marine science; and 3) to present your research
in written and oral format.
Choose a topic that interests you; this may include a specific
group of organisms, policies and international environmental
strategies for dealing with marine resources, a specific marine
ecosystem, anthropogenic effects of the marine environment,
paleontological, archaeological, or geological history of
the above, the ocean, society, and philosophy, etc. Pick something
either of interest to you or that relates to your major -
for instance, if you are an English major, how are oceans
and the life therein perceived throughout Medieval and Renaissance
literature, and does that have any bearing on modern environmental
perceptions? Or, if you really, really love sea turtles and
need to narrow down your topic, perhaps sea turtle roles in
food webs, or the life history and ecology of a particular
species and human impacts on that species.
What I expect is a review of current research, including
any relevant arguments, plus your own perspective of the problems,
biases, directions, and goals of current research, or your
thoughtful insights about what could be done to counter ecological
and environmental crises surrounding your topic.
You must use at least six references from popular science
literature, books, textbooks, primary literature, or the World
Wide Web. If web pages are used, they must be of significant
scientific value, such as Scripps, World Wildlife Foundation,
or Smithsonian Museum Web pages. Personal home pages, which
may include photos and speculative ideas of coral reefs and
dinosaur extinction, are not considered to be of "serious
An 8-10 page paper, double-spaced, 12 point font. This page
limit does not include illustrations, abstract, and references.
You will also forward to me an additional electronic copy
of your abstract (limited to 250 words) for our presentation
Students are encouraged to consult with the Writing Studio.
The paper will be in review format. That is, it will essentially
provide and overview and review of the subject plus critically
evaluate the current state of research of your chosen project
(or at least as much as you can cover given the short time
frame of the block!).
In addition to the paper, a home page pertinent to your topic
must be generated. You may use the marine science home page
as a template, or design your own. Web page design and planning
sessions will be held with the educational technologist.
You will give a 10 minute presentation of your research using
your web page as graphics for your presentation. Presentations
will be given in seminar format, with copies of abstracts
handed out ahead of time. Questions and discussion from the
class for each presentation is highly encouraged.
Your grade for the project will be based on: 1) your written
paper; 2) your web page; 3) your oral presentation; and 4)
the short evaluation you give for each of your classmates'