# Area B Guidelines (GE 2020)

*In the sections that follow, you will see the specific learning goals for each area. Together, we refer to these requirements as "Guidelines." *

*Generally speaking, "Educational Objectives" refer to***what students will learn**by completing that sub area while "Criteria" refer to**how the course is designed**to support that learning.

General Education Subject Area Guidelines

The General Education (GE) program is compliant with CSU requirements and is uniquely tailored to our comprehensive polytechnic education. At Cal Poly all curriculum, including General Education curriculum, is designed and taught by faculty with appropriate training and disciplinary expertise. Educational objectives are expectations for student learning, achievement of which can be periodically assessed. Course criteria are expectations for course design that will be used in the consideration of the course proposal, course modifications, and course renewal. Educational objectives and course criteria for General Education subject areas are included below. General Education class instruction includes the opportunity for skill acquisition, development, evaluation, and self-reflection.

## Area B: Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning

B4: Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning

*To see the unit requirements for Area B, click here to view the GE template.**Click here to see a list of currently approved courses for Area B.*

**Source: **AS-879-19 "Resolution on Subject Area Guidelines (I) for General Education 2020" (pdf).

Introduction

In Area B students will develop a basic understanding of the nature, scope, successes and limitations of mathematics, statistics, computer science, as well as the physical and life sciences. Lower-division Area B courses introduce fundamental concepts of each discipline, and as a result should not be interdisciplinary in nature. For all students these courses provide a foundation for understanding and navigating an increasingly technological society. Consequently, courses should place the basic knowledge presented in a larger context and show the breadth of application to other disciplines and/or daily life. In addition, students also learn to make reasoned arguments based on qualitative and quantitative evidence/data in these courses. An integral part of our polytechnic identity, these courses also provide essential foundational knowledge for more advanced study in mathematics, statistics, computer science, the physical and life sciences, and engineering. As a result, these courses also emphasize analyzing mathematical, statistical, scientific, and computational problems using logic, fundamental principles, and quantitative analysis. Courses in this area should include an appropriate writing component as a way for students to develop and demonstrate their understanding of basic scientific, mathematical, statistical, and computational concepts.

## B1: Physical Sciences

The physical sciences include astronomy, chemistry, geology, physics and related subjects that explore the non-living world.

**Educational Objectives**

After completing an Area B1 course, students should be able to:

- EO1 Describe the processes by which scientific knowledge is generated, including systematic observation and hypothesis-driven experimentation (including the ability to generate testable predictions), leading to the creation and/or refinement of theories used in the physical sciences;
- EO2 Analyze scientific problems using logic, fundamental principles in the physical sciences, and quantitative analysis, including: identifying whether additional information is needed, obtaining and evaluating appropriate information, and applying it to a specific problem in the physical sciences;
- EO3 Describe the science that underlies phenomena related to topics which arise in other disciplines and/or daily life;
- EO4 Articulate fundamental scientific concepts using appropriate vocabulary;
- EO5 Identify and evaluate the limits of models, data, and/or analytical techniques;
- EO6 Write about scientific concepts and ideas clearly and make reasoned arguments based on qualitative and quantitative evidence/data.

### Criteria

The course proposal and expanded course outline for courses in B1 must clearly indicate how the course meets each of the following criteria:

- CR1 Develop the skills and foundational knowledge needed to study topics presented in upper division Area B courses;
- CR2 Require disciplinary appropriate writing assignments that comprise at least 10% of overall course grade (e.g., lab reports, math proofs, essay questions, word problems, exam questions).

## B2: Life Sciences

**Educational Objectives**

After completing an Area B2 course, students should be able to:

- EO1 Describe the processes by which scientific knowledge is generated, including systematic observation and hypothesis-driven experimentation (including the ability to generate testable predictions), leading to the creation and/or refinement of existing theories that are used in the life sciences;
- EO2 Describe and explain one or more of the major themes in the life sciences;
- EO3 Analyze scientific problems using logic, fundamental principles in the life sciences, and quantitative analysis, including: identifying whether additional information is needed, obtaining and evaluating appropriate information, and applying it to a specific problem in the life sciences;
- EO4 Describe the science that underlies phenomena related to topics which arise in other disciplines and/or daily life;
- EO5 Articulate fundamental scientific concepts using appropriate vocabulary;
- EO6 Identify and evaluate the limits of models, data, and/or analytical techniques;
- EO7 Write about scientific concepts and ideas clearly and make reasoned arguments based on qualitative and quantitative evidence/data.

Criteria

The course proposal and expanded course outline for courses in B2 must clearly indicate how the course meets each of the following criteria:

- CR1 Develop the skills and foundational knowledge needed to study topics presented in upper division Area B courses;
- CR2 Describe and explain at least one of the major themes in the life sciences: a) the molecular, cellular, genetic, and physiological mechanisms underlying life; b) the evolution and diversity of life; c) ecological interactions of organisms with each other and with their environment;
- CR3 Require disciplinary appropriate writing assignments that comprise at least 10% of overall course grade (e.g., lab reports, math proofs, essay questions, word problems, exam questions).

## B3: Laboratory Activity

**Educational Objectives**

Students typically satisfy B3 requirements while simultaneously taking a B1 or B2 course. After completing an Area B3 course, students should be able to:

- EO1 Demonstrate the ability to apply hands-on disciplinary practices associated with the life sciences and/or physical sciences in a lab, observational, and/or other experimental setting;
- EO2 Formulate, refine, and evaluate empirically predictions and/or problems using models and simulations that predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural, physical, and/or designed worlds;
- EO3 Design and conduct an investigation to answer questions by providing evidence for and testing conceptual, mathematical, statistical, physical, and/or empirical models;
- EO4 Analyze and interpret data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical, statistical) to make valid and reliable scientific claims;
- EO5 Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to construct explanations and/or designs that are supported by multiple and independent sources of evidence and address counterarguments;
- EO6 Construct, use, and present arguments or counter-arguments based on data and evidence;
- EO7 Write about scientific concepts and ideas clearly and make reasoned arguments based on qualitative and quantitative evidence/data;
- EO8 Work collaboratively in groups with people who have ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are different from their own.

**Criteria**

*There are no criteria for B3.*

## B4: Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning

### Educational Objectives

Mathematics/quantitative reasoning includes mathematics, statistics, and computer science. Area B4 should not exclusively focus on learning a programming language. After completing an Area B4 course, students should be able to:

- EO1 Analyze mathematical, statistical, and/or computational problems using mathematical abstraction, logic, and fundamental principles and techniques of the mathematical or statistical sciences;
- EO2 Describe the quantitative and/or computational aspects that underlie phenomena related to topics which arise in other disciplines and/or daily life;
- EO3 Apply techniques in mathematics, statistics, and/or computer science to formulate and develop strategies to solve problems in other disciplines and/or daily life;
- EO4 Articulate fundamental mathematical, statistical, and/or computational concepts using appropriate vocabulary;
- EO5 Identify and evaluate the limits of models, data, analytical techniques, and/or computational techniques;
- EO6 Demonstrate proficiency and fluency in using mathematical abstraction, computation, logic and/or statistical analysis to reason quantitatively and qualitatively.

Criteria

The course proposal and expanded course outline for courses in B4 must clearly indicate how the course meets each of the following criteria:

- CR1 Develop the skills and knowledge needed to study more advanced topics presented in upper division Area B courses;
- CR2 Require disciplinary appropriate writing assignments that comprise at least 10% of overall course grade (e.g., lab reports, math proofs, essay questions, word problems, exam questions).

## Upper-Division B

Upper-Division B applies the basic scientific, mathematical, statistical and/or computational knowledge developed in lower division B courses to the in-depth study of topic(s) in these areas. Upper-Division B courses may allow students to meaningfully engage with problems in a new or more advanced area of mathematics, statistics, the physical or natural sciences, or computer science and emphasize depth over breadth. Alternatively, upper-division courses may integrate core concepts from lower-division courses in Area B and other disciplines to address scientific and/or technological decision making. These courses should explore the interplay between science, mathematics, statistics, and/or computer science and social, commercial and/or economic considerations in making rational, ethical, and humane decisions. These courses may be interdisciplinary in nature. All courses in this area should include an appropriate writing component as a way for students to develop and demonstrate their understanding of basic scientific, mathematical, statistical, and computational concepts.

### Educational Objectives

After completing an Upper-Division B course, students should be able to:

- EO1 Integrate the concepts from lower-division courses in Area B;
- EO2 Use quantitative evidence to support an idea or argument, in alternative forms, including visual and/or written form;
- EO3 Satisfy at least one of the following objectives:

a) Apply the fundamental scientific, mathematical, statistical, or computational concepts from the lower-division courses to address and meaningfully engage with problems in new or more advanced areas.

b) Articulate the considerations (which may include scientific, mathematical, computational, technical, economic, commercial, and social) that are necessary for making rational, ethical, and humane scientific and/or technological decisions.

Criteria

The course proposal and expanded course outline for courses in Upper-Division B must clearly indicate how the course meets each of the following criteria:

- CR1 Course requires at least completion of A1 Oral Communication, A2 Written Communication, and A3 Critical Thinking, and B4 Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning as pursuant to EO 1100-Revised (section 2.2.3); some courses will require additional pre-requisites as course content dictates;
- CR2 Require disciplinary appropriate writing assignments that comprise at least 10% of overall course grade.