University of Alberta

Science Literacy

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

18,225 already enrolled

Course

Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Dr. Claire Scavuzzo

Instructor: Dr. Claire Scavuzzo

4.4

(242 reviews)

Beginner level

Recommended experience

22 hours to complete
3 weeks at 7 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Learn how to think critically and understand the scientific method

  • Learn how to form well balanced and logical scientific arguments, read and design scientific research papers

  • Learn how to differentiate and discriminate science from pseudoscience, fake science and bad science

  • Become scientifically literate, and be able to critically evaluate information in the mainstream and social media, as well as every day life

Details to know

Shareable certificate

Add to your LinkedIn profile

Assessments

33 quizzes

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills

Placeholder
Placeholder

Earn a career certificate

Add this credential to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV

Share it on social media and in your performance review

Placeholder

There are 5 modules in this course

Welcome to Science Literacy! In a world where we have access to unlimited information, it is hard to sift through the echo chamber of opinions fueled by emotions and personal biases, rather than scientific evidence. Science Literacy will teach you about the process of science, how to think critically, how to differentiate science from pseudoscience, and how to critically evaluate scientific communication in the media. In this first module, we'll hear from indigenous elders about the traditional process of knowledge collection, and how it can be used to inspire, consolidate, and validate scientific hypotheses. We'll introduce the process and purpose of scientific thought and give you some tips and tricks for identifying biases in arguments, as well as how to distinguish common sense and intuition from genuine scientific theories. You'll also meet your presenters Claire and Rachel in the first video, so let's get started, and get scientifically literate!

What's included

7 videos10 readings4 quizzes

In this module, you are going to learn how to differentiate and discriminate science from pseudoscience. We'll look at some common examples of pseudoscience in everyday life, and practice separating them from science, bad science and plain ol' fraudulent science. Finally we'll find out just what it is that makes pseudoscientific language so appealing, how to combat it by staying skeptical and examine the harm that pseudoscience can do, if left unchallenged.

What's included

3 videos7 readings10 quizzes1 discussion prompt

In this module you'll learn a fundamental skill in science literacy- critical thinking! We'll introduce you to the basics of critical thinking before giving you the tools to try and apply some critical thinking to actual case studies. We'll also introduce the concept of correlation and demonstrate the difference between correlation and causation. We'll also examine the importance of replicability and the value (and burden) of extraordinary evidence. Finally, we'll visit the work of Karl Popper and discover why falsifiability lies at the heart of science literacy, and while complex conspiracy theories may appeal to the X Files fans in us, in science, the simplest explanation is often the most likely to be correct. So come on, it's time to get critical!

What's included

6 videos19 readings10 quizzes

In this module, we'll be taking a deep dive, into the particular methods that scientists use to form knowledge and understanding of the world around us. We'll be dissecting the different parts of a scientific paper, learn that there is a way to read even the densest scientific papers and give you an opportunity to test these new skills out. You'll also learn how to construct a scientific experiment, from forming your hypothesis, to choosing your variables and most appropriate method of research design, from natural to survey. After this module, you'll not only be able to rad and understand scientific reports, but you'll be able to design and carry out your own!

What's included

4 videos13 readings1 quiz

Who knows you better than your peers? Well, if you're science...no one! In this module we'll be looking at all aspects of the peer review system, through which scientific knowledge is published- its pros, and its imperfections. We'll look at how statistics can be used to substantiate scientific theories, but also how they can be used to bolster spurious correlations and dodgy data! We'll also look at how the media communicates and miscommunicates science, and how even scientists themselves can fall into the traps of sharpening, leveling and pseudosymmetry. Finally, we'll explore open data and open access as an option for the improvement of science communication and improving access for the general public to scientific research, so they don't have to rely on social media!

What's included

7 videos25 readings8 quizzes

Instructor

Instructor ratings
4.6 (135 ratings)
Dr. Claire Scavuzzo
University of Alberta
1 Course18,225 learners

Offered by

Recommended if you're interested in Basic Science

Why people choose Coursera for their career

Felipe M.
Learner since 2018
"To be able to take courses at my own pace and rhythm has been an amazing experience. I can learn whenever it fits my schedule and mood."
Jennifer J.
Learner since 2020
"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."
Larry W.
Learner since 2021
"When I need courses on topics that my university doesn't offer, Coursera is one of the best places to go."
Chaitanya A.
"Learning isn't just about being better at your job: it's so much more than that. Coursera allows me to learn without limits."

Learner reviews

Showing 3 of 242

4.4

242 reviews

  • 5 stars

    63.22%

  • 4 stars

    22.31%

  • 3 stars

    7.02%

  • 2 stars

    2.89%

  • 1 star

    4.54%

OH
5

Reviewed on Mar 29, 2021

CE
4

Reviewed on Jun 8, 2021

RF
4

Reviewed on Dec 11, 2020

New to Basic Science? Start here.

Placeholder

Open new doors with Coursera Plus

Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs - all included in your subscription

Advance your career with an online degree

Earn a degree from world-class universities - 100% online

Join over 3,400 global companies that choose Coursera for Business

Upskill your employees to excel in the digital economy

Frequently asked questions