Core Courses (18 credit points)

STEM education: theoretical and curricular perspectives (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

This course introduces participants to the theoretical underpinnings of STEM education. It traces the historical backgrounds to the STEM education movement in response to changes in economic, social and educational milieus in developed countries.  The course critiques the various interpretations of STEM education, and how different degrees and forms of integration of STEM and non-STEM disciplines have given rise to various curricular manifestations such as STEAM and STREAM, and diverse pedagogical approaches ranging from multidisciplinary to transdisciplinary problem solving approaches. The notion of STEM literacy as a universal goal of STEM education for the general citizenry will be critically examined in the context of modern and possible future technological advancement and its various implications. Participants will also compare the goals of different national standards for promoting STEM to understand their diverse emphases in transforming theory into practice. The challenges of the STEM education movement and its potential for sparking a paradigm shift in science, technology and mathematics education will be discussed in light of research findings regarding the impact of STEM education on student learning. Participants will be guided to construct a personal philosophy of STEM education to inform school practice.

Scientific inquiry and engineering design (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

This course provides participants with an in-depth understanding of the nature of science and engineering as two essential STEM practices, and their inter-relationships. It leads participants to compare the key thought processes of scientific inquiry and engineering design. Discussion on engineering design will focus on how it utilizes knowledge and skills across STEM disciplines, notably science and mathematics, and how engineering habits of mind are manifested in analytical designing, modeling, optimizing and system thinking for solving problems. Participants will learn how to effectively combine scientific inquiry and engineering design in STEM education settings.  While scientific inquiry provides the means for school students to research scientific knowledge that could provide a foundation for design, engineering design serves as the context to apply and further develop their scientific knowledge and inquiry skills. In practicing engineering design, participants will be guided to consider important design factors such as innovation, environmental sustainability, human factors, health and safety, feasibility and reliability to achieve planned goals within constraints. This course further leads participants to develop the pedagogical content knowledge for articulating science inquiry processes, engineering design strategies, technological skills and mathematical knowledge in designing integrated STEM activities.

Technology in STEM education (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

The course begins by tracing the historical development of technology to highlight the nature of technology as both a means and an end in human problem solving. The combined effect of politico-economic and socio-cultural factors, and the emergence of science as chief driving forces for the development of technology will be critically examined. The impact of modern technology on society and humanity will be discussed together with its ethical implications. With such foundation, the course provides participants with the essential pedagogical content knowledge for infusing modern technological devices into school STEM education. These include sensors, dataloggers, microcontrollers, 3D-printers, laser cutters, VR/AR, drones, mobile technology and Internet-of-things (IOT), and how they could be applied to STEM activity designs. Such knowledge will be useful for participants to build school students’ capacity to integrate technology into scientific inquiry and engineering design.

Developing creativity and innovation in STEM (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

This course offers a comprehensive study relating creativity and innovation to STEM education in five different ways. The first part introduces the basic concepts and theories of creativity and innovation, and their relations with STEM. The second part enhances the application of creative strategies for solving problems and developing inventions in STEM. The third part imagines how inventions can be translated into commercially viable innovations. The fourth part equips participants with the pedagogical and assessment skills for fostering student’s creativity in STEM learning. The fifth part aims at cultivating participants’ creativity in teaching STEM, from curriculum design to classroom improvisation. In this course, participants will be engaged in a variety of thinking exercises, experiential learning, case studies, hands-on and real-life authentic problem solving activities. Furthermore, participants are encouraged to transfer their learning from STEM to other domains. Ultimately, this course will benefit general creativity and innovation education as a whole.

Coding and computational thinking (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

This course begins with a review of the knowledge and skills of computational thinking and its role in developing advanced and future technology. The important role of coding and computational thinking as an integral part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and the rationale behind will be critically examined. It then discusses strategies for learning coding from various perspectives to develop participants’ computational thinking within the context of STEM education. The course will provide hands-on practices of using coding and computational thinking to address authentic problems and real-life scenarios in relation to STEM. Participants will be introduced to a variety of teaching and learning approaches to use coding to develop computational thinking, with the effectiveness of these approaches critically examined. They will also be led to further explore issues related to the design and practice of coding pedagogies, and how coding and computational thinking could be linked with other STEM disciplines to design integrated STEM learning activities in school curricular contexts.

Principles and methods in STEM education research (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

The course reviews the literature, strategies and instruments that inform qualitative and quantitative research in STEM education, leading participants to reflect on existing STEM education practices and explore ways forward. It will engage participants in the analysis and critique of published research from a variety of scholarly sources to develop participants’ ability to apply critical and interdisciplinary thinking to the methodical investigation of issues of concern in STEM education. With this foundation, participants will conduct a comprehensive literature review on a selected topic on STEM education for developing their ability to devise research questions, use appropriate methods for answering related questions, and reflect on claims and evidence on the impact of STEM education, leading to the development of their own informed philosophy and practices for promoting STEM education.

 

Elective courses (6 credit points)

Elective Group I (3 credit points)

Curriculum, teaching and assessment in STEM for primary schools (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

This course examines the relationship of STEM and the primary curriculum with particular reference to local school contexts.  It leads participants to explore potential ways to integrate STEM education into the curriculum of primary schools.  The connections among different primary STEM subjects, e.g., General Studies/Science, Mathematics ICT, and non-STEM subjects, such as Visual Arts, will be discussed with a view to synergizing disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning. This course also explores how integrated STEM curriculum designs could enhance primary students’ development of knowledge, inquiry skills, mathematical reasoning, computational thinking, creative design thinking, and 21 century skills. The use of problem-based learning, design-based learning, technology-enhanced learning approaches and scaffolding techniques to promote inquiry and design, will be examined. Formative and summative assessment strategies will be explored that could provide the essential feedback to school students and teachers on STEM learning outcomes. The role of leadership in overcoming challenges of integrated STEM education is examined with respect to curriculum integration, inter-departmental collaboration, teacher professional development, resources management and garnering of community support.

Curriculum, teaching and assessment in STEM for secondary schools (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

This course examines the relationship of STEM and the secondary curriculum with particular reference to local school contexts.  It leads participants to explore potential ways to integrate STEM education into the curriculum of secondary schools.  The connections among different secondary STEM subjects, e.g., Science, Mathematics ICT/Computer, Design and Technology, and non-STEM subjects, such as Arts, will be discussed with a view to promoting interdisciplinary learning that synergizes with disciplinary learning. This course also explores how integrated STEM curriculum designs could enhance secondary students’ development of knowledge, inquiry skills, mathematical reasoning, computational thinking, creative design thinking, and 21st century skills. Issues and challenges about progression in STEM education from the primary to secondary curriculum with increasing emphasis on self-directed learning, and about the dissolution of rigid subject boundaries across various secondary subjects will be discussed.  The use of problem-based, design-based learning and technology-enhanced learning approaches and scaffolding techniques to promote inquiry and design will be examined. Formative and summative assessment strategies will be explored to provide the essential feedback to school students on their learning outcomes. The role of leadership in overcoming challenges of integrated STEM education is examined with respect to curriculum integration, inter-departmental collaboration, teacher professional development, resources management and garnering of community support.

Elective Group II (3 credit points)

Research project (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

In this course, participants will be engaged in a small-scale research in STEM education under the guidance of a supervisor. Participants will select a research topic after identifying gaps in research on STEM education to date. The topic should have the potential to inform practice in the context of Hong Kong or other places. Possible topics include instructional design for achieving specific learning outcomes, the effectiveness of different approaches to curriculum integration, methods for assessing 21st century skills, and teachers’ readiness for integrated STEM education.  In the study, participants will go through the process of literature review, formulating research questions, methodology, data analysis, discussion of findings, and drawing of conclusions. Both quantitative or qualitative, or a mixed approach may be used, involving action research, surveys, case studies or other methods as appropriate. The course will span two semesters to allow sufficient time for participants to plan and conduct the research.

Internship (3 credit points)

Course Synopsis:

The Internship aims to provide participants with first-hand learning experiences for broadening their understanding of STEM and their vision of STEM education through exposure to workplace environments in STEM industries or STEM education fields. This course will also help participants integrate and apply their knowledge and skills gained from this programme, and to reflect on practical challenges and solve problems which they may encounter in workplace environments. Participants will be engaged in analysis and reflection on their Internship experience with regard to the development of STEM education in Hong Kong. The Internship thus offers participants the opportunity to enhance their STEM competencies or STEM educational competencies, as well as to foster their professional attitudes towards STEM and STEM education. This course will also equip participants with the essential knowledge to promote STEM professions as future careers for school students.  The internship will not lead to a qualified teacher status that enables participants to teach STEM subjects at local schools.

 


Any aspect of the course and course offerings (including, without limitation, the content of the course and the manner in which the course is taught) may be subject to change at any time at the sole discretion of the University. Without limiting the right of the University to amend the course and its course offerings, it is envisaged that changes may be required due to factors such as staffing, enrolment levels, logistical arrangements and curriculum changes.