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Development of a course in general physical science at the college level

Galloway, Edward Arthur
Scope of Report: The physical sciences were among the last disciplines to become a part of the general education movement in the colleges and universities of the United States. General physical science, now a part of general education, is still in the period of critical analysis and transition. This report involved the study of the history of general education, as it pertained to the physical sciences, and the trends in the development of general physical science programs as a part of the curricula of institutions of higher education. It analyzes the educational needs of the various types of students involved in a general education program in the physical sciences and establishes aims and objectives in terms of these needs. The report discusses the limiting factors in the development of a general physical science course and outlines the major types of programs being presented by various institutions. It presents a proposed program for Northeastern State College, Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Findings and Conclusions: A great amount of variety exists in the patterns of development of the various programs in general physical science being offered in colleges and universities. However, varied as these programs seem to be, they all have one objective in common: total education for citizenship. Every program seeks to satisfy the educational needs of the students involved.
The development of a general education course in the physical sciences is a curriculum problem unique to the particular institution for which it is being designed. The major factors influencing the development are: the educational philosophy of the institution, the physical plant, the instructional personnel, and the various types of students involved in the program.
To adequately present the physical sciences in a terminal course for non-science students it is evident that more than one semester is needed. The average length of course over the United States seems to be two semesters or three quarters.