Volume 9 (2002)
Evaluation of the Delivery of a University Foundation Course in a Third World Society: Science, Medicine, and Technology in Society
This article investigates the implementation of a sciene foundation course for non-science students at a Caribbean university. The course covers the philosophy and history of science and its impact on society, but does not require technical knowlege of science. It was introduced as a reading course to some 700 students in the Faculties of Social Sciences and Humanities. Students met with lecturers in tutorial/seminar groups. There were many difficulties and students, faculty, and administration were quite dissatisfied. The study attempted to identify the main problems and what could be done to improve the delivery of the course. Interviews with lecturers and students revealed that although the aims of the course were worthwhile, the introduction was rushed, the administration appeared to be muddled, and students were resentful. Seminar sessions were too few to cover all the material and time for discussion was limited. The textbook was not perceived as reader-friendly and did not aid the understanding of many students. One positive feature was the method of assessment, which produced a pass rate of 91%. However, questions are raised about whether the aims were achieved. Suggestions are given for improving administration, mode of delivery, student motivation, and the text.
Keywords: The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine; Course Evaluation; University Courses; Science; Trinidad and Tobago