Teaching Science at University Course Reviews

Teaching Science at University is a comprehensive online course offered on Coursera and authored by Sara Taner.

Teaching Science at University Course Reviews
Teaching Science at University Course Reviews

This course aims to equip educators with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively teach science subjects at the university level. The course is designed for both new and experienced science instructors who are interested in enhancing their teaching methodologies and strategies.

The course covers a wide range of topics related to science education, including instructional design, curriculum development, assessment techniques, and fostering an engaging learning environment. Participants will explore various teaching approaches and learn how to adapt them to suit different scientific disciplines and student needs.

The course emphasizes the importance of active learning and encourages instructors to incorporate hands-on experiments, group work, and problem-solving activities into their lessons. Participants will also learn how to utilize technology and multimedia resources effectively to enhance student engagement and comprehension.

Additionally, the course addresses the importance of effective communication and feedback in science education. It provides guidance on providing constructive criticism, facilitating class discussions, and promoting critical thinking among students.

Throughout the course, participants will have access to a range of practical tools and resources, such as sample lesson plans, assessment rubrics, and case studies. They will also have opportunities to interact with other educators through discussion forums, allowing for the exchange of ideas and best practices.

By the end of the course, participants will have gained a solid foundation in teaching science at the university level. They will be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to design engaging science curricula, implement effective teaching strategies, and assess student learning outcomes.

Teaching Science at University is an invaluable resource for educators looking to enhance their teaching abilities and create meaningful learning experiences for their students in the field of science.

Course Content:

This course will prepare you for teaching science in higher education. In this MOOC you will learn to make your knowledge as an excellent researcher accessible to your students. We will show you how to communicate science to novices as well as advanced students in science. You will experience the value of teaching with analogies and you will be guided to train your students' competences. Based on up-to-date findings from research into teaching and learning science you will be able to

- implement evidence

-based strategies into your own teaching,

- use students everyday

-conceptions for the development of courses,

- prepare analogies and models to teach in your field,

- implement problem-based teaching,

- set up for experiments and teach the nature of science.

This course enables you to teach abstract science topics to your students and make them become active and successful learners. The course is based on lectures (videos), handouts (knowledge-to practice briefs), which supplement the knowledge taught in the lectures and assignments to implement the teaching strategies into your own practice.

The Teaching Science at University course on Coursera, created by Sara Taner, consists of 5 weeks, each with several lectures and activities. Here is a breakdown of the weeks in the course:

Week 1: Introduction: Teaching and Learning Science

Welcome to your first week of Teaching Science at University! In this first module we will give you an overview of what you will learn during our 5-week course and show you what you can achieve as an excellent lecturer or teaching assistant at your university! In the first lesson our focus is on evidence-based teaching. We will show you how you can base your lectures, lab classes, and courses on science education research. You will learn about main principles of visible learning and mind frames which will help you to embrace these principles. Then we will adapt learning theories to science teaching, starting with behaviorism up to cognitivism, constructivism, and neurodidactics. Interviews with a Professor in Animal Behaviour and a Professor in Neuroscience give further insight in the way we learn. At the end of the first week, you should be able to implement and reflect upon one evidence-based teaching strategy in your own teaching. Have fun!

7 videos (Total 42 min), 7 readings, 1 quiz

7 videos

Course Overview 2m

Evidence-based science teaching 5m

Rate teaching strategies 6m

How the brain computes information 7m

from behaviourism... 5m

...to constructivism 8m

Encouraging higher order thinking 6m

7 readings

Join our research project on effective professional development!! 10m

READ ME!! How to get the most out of our course 2m

K2P Brief #1 Formative Assessment 10m

K2P Brief #2 Powerful Feedback 10m

READ ME - Help FLAG those who weaken the peer review system 10m

READ ME, TOO - IMPORTANT general instructions for assignments and how they are graded 2m

K2P Brief #15 Effective Peer Review 10m


Week 2: Conceptual Change

Understanding scientific concepts is the core of learning science, but often our pre-instructional conceptions act as barriers to reach an appropriate understanding. In this module we will show how to guide students from their everyday conceptions to scientific ones. You will learn how to use your students’ pre-conceptions not as obstacles but as starting points for teaching science. We will show you some methods for a quick assessment of your students’ conceptions. We look at strategies how we can change our students’ conceptions and how we can help your students to change their ideas. Finally we consider how you as a teacher can foster student engagement in class. At the end of the second week you should be able to address the pre- instructional conceptions of your students in your teaching.

6 videos (Total 41 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz

6 videos

Identifying everyday conceptions 4m

No teaching without everyday conceptions 6m

Assessing your students conceptions 7m

Learning as conceptual change 8m

Learning as ontological change 4m

Tips for engagement 9m

2 readings

K2P Brief #3 Initiating Conceptual Change 10m

K2P Brief #4 Making Conceptual Change Happen 10m


Week 3: Teaching with analogies

This week we would like to show how invisible concepts become visible. In everyday life we learn so many things by comparing and contrasting. From research we know that the use of analogies and metaphors are important features in the scientific endeavor, and their use in teaching science seems a natural extension. We raise the question whether analogies are just excellent communication tools or if they can generate new knowledge. What do the majority of students really understand when analogies are used to explain abstract and difficult ideas such as molecular structures, diffusion, and plate tectonics? We show that It is important to consider students’ personal constructions since no student enters the lecture hall as “tabula rasa.” Science classrooms are common settings in which analogies are used to enhance concept learning; therefore, improving the way analogies are used in science education has important teaching and learning consequences. At the end of the third week you should be able to choose good analogies for teaching science and implement them fruitfully.

5 videos (Total 38 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz

5 videos

Why science is hard to grasp 10m

Using analogies 6m

How to teach analogies 4m

Successful instructional analogies 8m

Multiple representations in science 7m

4 readings

K2P Brief #5 Big Ideas in Science 10m

K2P Brief #6 Backward Design 10m

K2P Brief #7 - Teaching with Analogies - part1 10m

K2P Brief #8: Teaching with Analogies - part2 10m


Week 4: (Re-)Frame your science teaching

This week we want to show you how we can frame our science teaching to increase interest, motivation, and understanding of the students. In the first lesson we ask how the framing of science teaching can help students see the relevance of science for society. We look at problems from everyday life and their potential to foster students understanding of science. Activating our students is one key to reducing failure rates in our classrooms. We look how to design a new course by setting the goals our students have to achieve and how to foster learning when supervising a thesis. Finally we look how to communicate risk and uncertainty in an appropriate way to foster understanding. At the end of this week you should be able to frame your science teaching to make it relevant for your students.

7 videos (Total 53 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz

7 videos

Make science relevant 5m

Active learning with socioscientific issues 7m

Tasks for active learners 7m

Active Learning with Digital Tools 8m

Setting goals for students 5m

Supervision of theses 9m

Communication risk and uncertainity 9m

4 readings

K2P Brief #9 Connecting Science and Society 10m

K2P Brief #10 Active Learning 10m

K2P Brief #16 Teaching with Digital Tools 10m

K2P Brief #14 Assessing Student Performance 10m


Week 5: Teaching science in a lab or field

This week we focus on improving students’ learning in a lab or in the field. In the first lesson we show you how to design a lab class, then we focus on delivering a lab class. We show you how you can use design principles (known as “gestalt principles”) to present experiments in a manner which is easy for your students to understand. Then we look at a model on students’ competences on experimentation that you can use to track the development of your students’ conceptual development. From research we know that students often hold inadequate conceptions about the nature of science and the scientific endeavor. We show you how you can address these conceptions to enable your students to understand the meaning of experiments, models, and theories in science. Finally we focus on the role of models in science education. We look at a model for model competence you can use to analyse where your students stand and to train different dimensions of dealing with models. At the end of this week you should be able to design a lab class that improves the inquiry skills of your students.

8 videos (Total 63 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz

8 videos

Conducting a lab class 9m

Interview with a digital simulation user 5m

Preparing a lab class 8m

Design principles for experiments 7m

Identifying and fostering students' experimental competences 9m

Teaching practical skills with digital simulations 7m

Changing students conceptions about the nature of science 7m

Models and modelling in science 7m

4 readings

K2P Brief #11 Inquiry Teaching in the Lab 10m

K2P Brief #12 Teaching the Nature of Science 10m

K2P Brief #13 Teaching with Models 10m

Be a part of our research (again!) - help us improve the course 10m




The Teaching Science at University course by Sara Taner on Coursera is a highly valuable resource for instructors who are looking to improve their teaching skills in science courses. The course is structured into four modules, each covering a different aspect of effective science teaching. The modules are easy to follow and well-organized, with clear learning objectives and outcomes.

The course content is highly practical, and participants are provided with various tools and resources to help them implement the strategies and principles discussed in the lectures. The course emphasizes student-centered learning, active learning strategies, assessment strategies, and effective lecturing. These are all critical components of effective teaching, and the course does an excellent job of covering them in-depth.

One of the strengths of the course is the interactive nature of the materials. There are numerous opportunities for reflection, discussion, and application of the concepts presented in the lectures. This helps to reinforce the learning and encourages participants to think critically about their teaching practices. The course also provides useful supplementary materials, including recommended readings, case studies, and online resources.

While the course is highly beneficial, some learners have noted that it may be more suitable for new or inexperienced instructors. More experienced educators may find some of the information to be redundant or not applicable to their specific context. Additionally, some learners have suggested that the course could benefit from more diverse perspectives and examples from different science disciplines.

Overall, the Teaching Science at University course by Sara Taner on Coursera is an excellent resource for university instructors who want to improve their teaching skills in science courses. It is highly practical, interactive, and provides a solid foundation for effective teaching practices. The course has received positive feedback from learners and is highly recommended.

At the time, the course has an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars based on over 158 ratings.

What you'll learn:

After completing the course Teaching Science at University by Sara Taner on Coursera, participants will acquire the following skills:

  1. Instructional Design: Participants will develop a strong understanding of how to design effective science curricula and lesson plans. They will learn how to structure learning objectives, select appropriate teaching materials, and create engaging activities that align with educational goals.

  2. Teaching Strategies: The course equips participants with a range of teaching strategies tailored specifically for science education. They will learn how to incorporate active learning techniques, such as hands-on experiments, group work, and problem-solving activities, to enhance student engagement and understanding.

  3. Assessment Techniques: Participants will gain knowledge about various assessment methods and techniques suitable for evaluating student learning in science subjects. They will learn how to design effective assessments, develop rubrics, and provide meaningful feedback to students to promote their progress and understanding.

  4. Technology Integration: The course emphasizes the integration of technology and multimedia resources in science teaching. Participants will learn how to effectively use digital tools, simulations, and online resources to enhance student learning and engagement in the science classroom.

  5. Communication and Facilitation: Participants will develop strong communication skills necessary for effective teaching. They will learn how to facilitate class discussions, encourage critical thinking, and foster a positive and inclusive learning environment.

  6. Collaboration and Professional Development: The course encourages collaboration among participants through discussion forums and interaction with fellow educators. This fosters a community of practice where ideas and best practices can be shared. Additionally, participants will gain insights into ongoing professional development opportunities in the field of science education.

Overall, participants completing the course will have a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge to excel as science educators at the university level. They will be well-equipped to design engaging science curricula, implement effective teaching strategies, assess student learning, and foster an enriching educational environment.


Sara Taner is an accomplished educator and expert in the field of science education. With years of experience as a science instructor and curriculum developer, she has made significant contributions to the field and has earned a reputation for her expertise and dedication.

Sara Taner holds advanced degrees in both education and a scientific discipline, which provide her with a strong foundation for understanding the intricacies of teaching science at the university level. Her educational background, coupled with her practical experience, enables her to offer valuable insights and practical strategies to fellow educators.

Throughout her career, Sara Taner has demonstrated a passion for improving science education. She has conducted extensive research on effective teaching methodologies, curriculum design, and student learning outcomes. Her research findings have been published in reputable academic journals and have contributed to the advancement of science education practices.

As an instructor, Sara Taner is known for her engaging teaching style and ability to connect with her students. She emphasizes active learning and creates a supportive learning environment that encourages student participation and critical thinking. Her enthusiasm for science is contagious, inspiring students to explore and develop a deeper understanding of scientific concepts.

In addition to her teaching expertise, Sara Taner is actively involved in professional development initiatives for science educators. She has delivered workshops and training sessions on science education best practices, curriculum development, and assessment techniques. Her commitment to ongoing learning and sharing knowledge contributes to the continuous improvement of science education practices.

Overall, Sara Taner is a highly regarded expert in science education, known for her deep knowledge, practical experience, and dedication to the field. Her contributions have had a positive impact on science educators, empowering them with the necessary skills and strategies to create engaging and effective learning experiences for students.


The course Teaching Science at University by Sara Taner encompasses various requirements and expectations. Here are the key requirements of the course:

  1. Educational Background: While there are no specific prerequisites in terms of educational qualifications, participants are expected to have a foundational knowledge of science concepts and principles. A background in science or a related field would be beneficial but is not mandatory.

  2. Target Audience: The course is designed for educators who teach or plan to teach science subjects at the university level. It caters to both new instructors looking to build their teaching skills and experienced educators seeking to enhance their existing methodologies.

  3. Time Commitment: Participants should allocate sufficient time to engage with the course materials and complete the assigned activities. The course duration and time commitment may vary depending on the individual's pace, but typically, participants should expect to spend several hours per week on coursework.

  4. Online Access: Since the course is offered on Coursera, participants need a reliable internet connection and access to a computer or mobile device to access the course materials, lectures, and interactive components.

  5. Active Participation: The course encourages active participation and engagement. Participants are expected to complete quizzes, assignments, and participate in discussion forums to exchange ideas and perspectives with fellow learners.

  6. Language Proficiency: The course is delivered in English, so participants should have a sufficient command of the English language to understand the course content and actively participate in discussions and assignments.

  7. Openness to Learning: Participants should approach the course with an open mindset, ready to explore new teaching strategies, adapt their approaches, and embrace innovative ideas in science education.

By meeting these requirements, participants can fully engage with the course content, interact with the instructor and peers, and gain the maximum benefit from the learning experience provided by Teaching Science at University with Sara Taner.

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