College of Education


departmental course syllabus


The College of education is dedicated to the ideals of Collaboration, Academic Excellence, Research, and Ethics/Diversity.  These are key tenets in the Conceptual Framework of the College of Education.  Competence in these ideals will provide candidates in educator preparation programs with skills, knowledge, and dispositions to be successful in the schools of today and tomorrow.  For more information on the Conceptual Framework, visit:





1.       Course Prefix and Number: SCE 6736

2.       Course Title: Research Implications for Teaching Science

3.       Regular Instructor: Barbara S. Spector, Ph.D.

4.       Course Prerequisites: SCE 6761

1.       Course Description: Generates new perspectives on research by comparing research techniques in mathematics, natural sciences, and mathematics and science education, and by matching mathematics, science, and technology questions to appropriate research paradigms.


This course (a) compares research techniques (paradigms) in mathematics, various natural sciences, and science education which lead to new perspectives on research, and (b) matches research paradigms to the wide range of questions emerging from the broadened understanding of the scientific enterprise and the relationship to todayís society.


6.  Course Goals and Objectives:


1.0    Learners will explain the way the scientific enterprise generates new knowledge.

2.0    Learners will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the continuum of designs (paradigms) and techniques used in mathematics, various natural sciences, and science education.

3.0   Learners will match research paradigms to the wide range of questions emerging from a broadened understanding of the multiple perspectives of the scientific enterprise and its relationship to todayís society.

4.0   Learners will illustrate ways to use disciplined inquiry as a framework within which to restructure science courses.

5.0   Learners will conduct research in teaching/learning of science.



7.       Content outline:


Topics are addressed holistically through reflection on interactive learning experiences, not in linear fashion as presented below:


I.                     Survey of a continuum of research designs and relationships among them

a) quantitative techniques

b) qualitative techniques

c) role of intuition


II.                   Apply research paradigms to different questions.

a) nature and role of research paradigms used in mathematics

b) nature and role of research paradigms used in biological sciences

c) nature and role of research paradigms used in physical sciences

d) nature and role of research paradigms used in medical sciences

e) nature and role of research paradigms used in technology


III.                  Research in the private sector verses research in the public sector.

a)       comparison of issues and factors encouraging and limiting research in both   


b)       advantages and disadvantages of working in each sector 

c)       sociology of a researcher


IV.                The nature of research paradigms used in mathematics and science education.

a)   defining research questions

b)   selecting appropriate paradigms

d)       getting research proposals funded


V.                  Designing instruction within a disciplined inquiry framework

a)       course constructed as an inquiry

b)        various research competitions for K-12 learners

c)    collaborative research in science education  


8. Evaluation of student outcomes


1.       35% class participation

2.       25%  electronic journals and other electronic communications

3.       15%  protocol for obtaining data from researchers about their life styles.

4.       25% instructional design


9. Grading criteria:


A = Your work is outstanding and a model for others to follow


Shows imagination, creativity, and significant attempt to develop your unique ideas and

perspectives using valid logical arguments and evidence and extend beyond the

assigned tasks.


B = Your work is good


Work on assignments is done in adequate professional way but lacks indication of

outstanding thinking and imagination and extensions beyond the assigned tasks.


C = Your work is satisfactory


In general satisfactory but lacking in detail and workmanship


D = Your work is not quite satisfactory, but is all there


F = Your work is unsatisfactory, and, or, significant portions were not completed


Your grade is based on the quality and quantity of your participation during on-campus sessions,

off-campus sessions, and Web CT communications and the quality and quantity of

assignments you complete. Requirements for this course include journals, readings, videos, site explorations, processes, and products.


One criterion used to assess quality is your analytic, conceptual, and creative thinking

as expressed through your verbal (oral and electronic) communications in class and in

any other written assignments. Consequently, attendance at all class sessions, for the

entire session, is required. Absences and tardiness will be reflected in your grade.


10. Textbooks and readings:


Gabel, D.L (Ed) (1994).Handbook of research on science teaching and learning. NY: Macmillan


Spector, B. S. & Lederman (1990) Science and technology as human enterprises: Chapter 4 & 5


Qualitative Research in Information Systems (2004),


Readings distributed by guest experts related to research in their particular disciplines.


11(a)   ADA StatementStudents with disabilities are responsible for registering with the Office of Student Disabilities Services in order to receive special accommodations and services.   Please notify the instructor during the first week of classes if a reasonable accommodation for a disability is needed for this course.   A letter from the USF Disability Services Office must accompany this request.


11(b).  USF Policy on Religious Observances: 

Students who anticipate the necessity of being absent from class due to the observation of a major religious observance must provide notice of the date(s) to the instructor, in writing, by the second class meeting.



Attachment 1


1.  Rationale for setting goals and objectives

Many national documents and current research contribute to the goals and objectives for this course.  It is recognized that there is considerable overlap in the major themes of various national documents. It should be noted that the Sunshine State Standards are an application of the varied national standards to the state of Florida. Sources of information that support the formulation and selection of course goals and objectives include:


National Research Council. (1996).  National Science Education Standards.

      Washington D. C.:  National Academy Press.


American Association for the Advancement of Science (1989). Science for All Americans. Oxford Press


2. Specific competencies addressed from relevant national guidelines: NA

(not required since this a doctoral level course)


3. Field based experiences in this course: NA

(not required since this a doctoral level course)


4.       Use of technology in this course:

This is a Web-enhance course set in Web C. T.  Both synchronous and asynchronous communications are used


5. Florida Adopted subject area competencies addressed in this course: NA

(not required since this a doctoral level course)


6. Sunshine state standards addressed in this course: NA

            (not required since this a doctoral level course)































Departmental Course Syllabus


Preprofessional Benchmarks for the Accomplished Practices



Practice #1 -- Assessment:    The preprofessional teacher collects and uses data gathered from a variety of sources.  These sources will include both traditional and alternate assessment strategies.  Furthermore, the teacher can identify and match the studentís instructional plan with their cognitive, social, linguistic, cultural, emotional, and physical needs.


Practice #2 -- Communication:  The preprofessional teacher recognizes the need for effective communication in the classroom and is in the process of acquiring techniques which she/he will use in the classroom.


Practice #3 -- Continuous Improvement:  The preprofessional teacher realizes that she/he is in the initial stages of a life-long learning process and that self reflection is one of the key components of that process.  While her/his concentration is, of necessity, inward and personal, the role of colleagues and school-based improvement activities increase as time passes.  The teacherís continued professional improvement is characterized by self reflection, work with immediate colleagues and teammates, and meeting the goals of a personal professional development plan.


Practice #4 -- Critical Thinking:  The preprofessional teacher is acquiring performance assessment techniques and strategies activities designed to assist all students in demonstrating their ability to think creatively.


Practice #5 -- Diversity:  The preprofessional teacher establishes a comfortable environment which accepts and fosters diversity.  The teacher must demonstrate knowledge and awareness of varied cultures and linguistic backgrounds.  The teacher creates a climate of openness, inquiry, and support by practicing strategies [such] as acceptance, tolerance, resolution, and mediation.


Practice #6 -- Ethics:  The preprofessional teacher adheres to the Code of Ethics and Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida.


Practice #7 -- Human Development and Learning:  Drawing upon well established human development/learning theories and concepts and  a variety of information about students, the preprofessional teacher plans instructional activities.


Practice #8 -- Knowledge of Subject Matter:  The preprofessional teacher has a basic understanding of the subject matter and is beginning to understand that the subject is linked to other disciplines and can be applied to real world integrated settings.  The teacherís repertoire of teaching skills include a variety of means to assist student acquisition of new knowledge and skills using that knowledge.


Practice #9 -- Learning Environments:  The preprofessional teacher understands the importance of setting up effective learning environments and has techniques and strategies to use to do so including some that provide opportunities for student input into the processes. The teacher understands that she/he will need a variety of techniques and is working to increase knowledge and skills.


Practice #10 -- Planning:  The preprofessional teacher recognizes the importance of setting high expectations for all students.  The preprofessional teacher works with other professionals to design learning experiences that meet studentsí needs and interests.  The teacher candidate continually seeks advice/information from appropriate resources including feedback, interprets the information, and modifies her/his plans appropriately.  Planned instruction will incorporate a creative environment and utilize varied and motivational strategies and multiple resources for providing comprehensible instruction for all students.  Upon reflection, the teacher continuously refines outcome assessment and learning experiences.


Practice #11 -- Role of the Teacher:  The preprofessional teacher communicates and works cooperatively with families and colleagues to improve the educational experiences at the school.


Practice #12 -- Technology:  The preprofessional teacher uses technology as available at the school site and as appropriate to the learner.  She/he provides students with opportunities to actively use technology and facilitates access to the use of electronic resources.  The teacher also uses technology to manage, evaluate, and improve instruction.