Creative Approaches towards Addressing Controversial Issues in STEM

ECTS Value: 5 ECTS

Contact Hours: 25

Self Study Hours: 60

Assessment Hours: 40


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

This module offers course participants the possibility to discuss how uncertainty can be used to spark curiosity and better prepare learners for the real world, where answers are seldom clear-cut or permanent. Whether discovering black holes,the concept of Climate Change or other controversial topics, learners and employees should be comfortable challenging the received knowledge. If learners, citizens or employees can be made to feel comfortable with uncertainty and they are proactive in challenging facts, then they are more pertinent to be curious, creative and innovative in their thinking and doing. This module will use current STEM-related international news as the basis for discussion.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Develop creative approaches to engage citizens and other stakeholders with topics that they find challenging to discuss.
b. Instil critical thinking, curiosity, passion, and thinking outside the box through case studies found in research studies and reports.
c. Identify good practices and implement them to different target audiences in relation to STEM engagement.
d. Develop an understanding of participatory research methods to engage with different audiences with STEM.
e. Evaluate activities based on the level of engagement with several publics.


a. Outline effective examples of citizen science projects.
b. Evaluate activities based on the level of engagement with several publics
c. Outline methods and processes used by the media, science communicators and anti-science groups to engage their audiences.
d. Demonstrate an understanding of how dialogue can be used to engage various groups within society.
e. Derive the importance of an informed democracy and active citizenship
f. Express different ways of using arts and other creative tools to engage citizens for challenging topics.


a. Apply creative tools to real-life situations (e.g. anti-vax movement, myths, fake news etc) such fish-bowl discussions and other facilitation techniques etc
b. Apply monitoring techniques to evaluate their communication strategies.
c. Critically apply citizen science methodologies to instil curiosity, engage citizens with science and facilitate active citizenship and democracy.


Assessment Methods

This programme adopts continuous and summative methods of assessment including assignments, online tasks, reflective journals, projects and video presentations. For further details, kindly refer to the Teaching, Learning and Assessment Policy and Procedures.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List

1. Mark L. Brake, E. W. Introducing Science Communication: A Practical Guide, Great Britain: Palgrave Macmillian. 2010.
2. David J. B, R. C. J. Successful Science Communication: Telling it like it is, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. 2011.
3. Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy. Edited by Susanne Hecker, Muki Haklay, Anne Bowser, Zen Makuch, Johannes Vogel, and Aletta Bonn and foreword by Carlos Moedas, Commissioner (2015-19) Research, Science and Innovation, European Commission. Online for free:

Supplementary Reading List

1. Jensen, E., & Laurie, C. (2016). Doing real research: A practical guide to social research SAGE Publications.en, E., & Laurie, C. (2016).
2. National Research Council. 2002. Scientific Research in Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Online for free:

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