EDF5302 - Content, pedagogy and pedagogical content knowledge in STEM education - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Dr Michael Phillips

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Flexible)


This unit introduces and explores the notion of expert educator knowledge underpinning STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and STEM education. In particular, it focuses on the interplay between pedagogical knowledge and content knowledge theoretically conceptualised as pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). While there have been many examples of PCK as the basis for expert educator knowledge, exploring this concept in STEM education disrupts many assumptions in relation to the knowledge base of expert educators. The unit focuses on the ways in which STEM challenges the notion of knowledge as an individual attribute (belonging to a person), instead considering the knowledge as being distributed amongst people and significantly how this knowledge base is dynamic and therefore changes over time. Students are challenged to consider the ways in which a dynamic, distributed conceptualisation of knowledge can start to shift and shape our views about STEM pedagogy. Within the unit, there is a strong focus on theoretical explorations of STEM knowledge, STEM pedagogies and the development of an identity as a STEM leader together with pragmatic considerations of the ways in which these ideas shape STEM as a true interdisciplinary field which requires collaboration between educators as much as it does from students. This unit challenges STEM educators to consider the syntax and structure of STEM together with their emerging identity as a STEM leader.


Upon successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. critically evaluate research in relation to knowledge underpinning expert teacher pedagogies and practices in STEM and STEM education
  2. design strategies for the effective distribution of PCK in STEM teams
  3. develop strong connections between STEM policy, practice and identity as a leader in this educational field.


Developing a STEM learning action plan (2000 words or equivalent, 50%)

Exploring my STEM identity (2000 words or equivalent, 50%)

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload equals 144 hours per semester comprising:

  1. Contact hours for on-campus students:
    • 2 hour workshop / (computer/maker) laboratory class - which may include mini-lectures, digital lab work, group work, and peer-tutoring
  2. Study schedule for online/flexible students:
    • Engage with "in-class" specific Workshop / Laboratory tasks that have been adapted for online students who may not have access to specific specialised digital equipment. For instance this may include individual and collaborative activities such as data-logging and the manipulation and visualisation of data: 2 hrs per week
  3. Additional requirements (all students):
    • Engage with pre-class materials and activities which may include 'flipped' lecture recordings, readings or completing practical tasks: 2 hrs per week
    • Engage with post-class materials and activities which may include online collaborative and creative activities (eg. forum participation, video creation, readings): 2 hrs per week
    • Independent study to make up the minimum required hours per semester, including research and preparation of assessment which has a noteworthy focus on learning through the application of digital technologies and demonstration of outcomes

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)