WWW Site for John Lawrence Bencze, Associate Professor, Science Education, OISE/University of Toronto
Current Issues
in Science & Technology Education
(OISE, University of Toronto Graduate Programme Course, CTL 1209)
Welcome to the website for CTL 1209! This is a graduate course dealing with areas of international debate in science and technology education. This site provides a brief, publicly-available, description of the course and access to many relevant teaching and learning resources. Activities for this course occur in a PeppeR online learning environment. The menu at right provides access to the various resources. Visitors to this course page are invited to send me comments, suggestions, etc.: Mail to Larry.
Course Description.
Course Resources.

Course Description

Course Rationale
Science and technology are fields of considerable social, cultural, political, economic and intrinsic interest to many people. Each of these 'stakeholders' has particular perspectives on what should be taught and how student learning should be promoted. Despite its relatively long history, there are many controversial aspects of science and technology education. Educators in this field should be aware of diverse positions people hold on a range of topics in science and technology education so that they might better determine their perspectives and pedagogical practices.
Course Goals
Through this course, students should: 
  • increase their understanding of diverse positions on a range of controversial topics in science and technology education, and
  • provide detailed, logical, and research-based (refereed) defences of their positions on controversial topics.

Course Description
This is a course that deals with topics about which there are significant competing opinions amongst educators, philosophers, sociologists, politicians, members of the business community, transnational organizations, parents, students, etc. Much of this course involves critique of the status quo in science and technology education; that is, widespread perspectives and practices that have long endured, but about which many consider problematic. It also addresses new movements, such as STEM Education. The course also deals with possible solutions to these issues. Finally, to personalize the course, students are asked to relate their particular educational perspectives and preferred practices to those presented by others in the course (including those from refereed research reports). This course is planned to be organized around four major learning domains; i) Products (e.g., laws & theories), ii) Skills & Research (e.g., experiment design), iii) STSE/NoST (e.g., effects of government-sanctioned business-science contracts), and iv) Socio-political actions (e.g., lobbying government). Throughout the course, students will be expected to use argumentation principles like those by Stephen Toulmin. Commonly, assignments for this course are as summarized at right. 
Course Assessment & Evaluation
Course assignments, due dates and values are described below:  
Minor Assignments

Throughout the course, there will be a number of relatively ‘minor’ (i.e., short) activities/assignments. These are intended to prepare students for success with the ‘major’ assignments. Ongoing
Major Assignments

  • Issue Elaboration: This assignment requires students to provide a detailed discussion and defence of alternative choices regarding a particular perspective or practice in science and/or technology education addressed in this course. No resolution is expected. It will be evaluated in terms of: i) Clarity & Logic of Writing (10/50); ii) Length [~ 2,000 words] (10/50); and, iii) Degree of Argumentation (e.g., claims, counter-claims, evidence & relevant refereed literature (30/50).
prior to last date to withdraw from the course

  • Issue Resolution: This assignment involves product of an argumentative defence of each student’s preferred resolution to an issue or dilemma of his/her choice that has been addressed in the course. This assignment will be evaluated in terms of: i) Clarity & Logic of Writing, including proper use of APA Style (10/50); ii) Length [~ 5,000 words] (10/50); and, iii) Degree of Argumentation (e.g., claims, counter-claims, premises, evidence & relevant refereed literature (30/50).
A few weeks after the last official class day.
† Note: The above information does not represent the official course description; that is available in the course outline given to students.
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Course Resources

To help ensure the course goals (refer above) are met, various resources are available to students, in addition to those distributed in various classes. Refer to the links at right.
Instructor Support.
Web Resources.
Education Commons.
Several journal articles also are provided.

Contact Information.
When student teachers feel they need support beyond use of PeppeR, they are encouraged to contact me by email, by phone or Skype. My contact information is given at right. 
Dr. Larry Bencze (Course Instructor)
Associate Professor, Science Education
E-mail: larry.bencze@utoronto.ca
Fax: 416 926 4744
Web Site: www.lbencze.ca

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Education Commons.
Education Commons (EC) is the location of electronic and 'hard copy' resources for the OISE/UT community. EC has, basically, three main branches, as described below:
  • Library: The OISE/UT library has many resources that should be useful to student teachers enrolled in CTL 1209. Some more specific information about some of these is provided below:
    • UofT Online Library: There are several journals that provide students and faculty with access to full text, downloadable articles. Some of particular interest for this course include: The Science Teacher, Science & Children, Science Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Electronic Journal of Science Education, International Journal of Science Education, Journal of Elementary Science Education, Science Scope, Journal of Science Education and Technology, Research in Science and Technological Education, Research in Science Education, Studies in Science Education, School Science and Mathematics, International Journal of Technology and Design Education, Journal of Technology Education. Login requires a UTORID. Once logged in to a journal site, journals' publishers provide helpful search engines.
    • Software: All UofT (including OISE) students and faculty can purchase many useful software packages for a greatly reduced price through this office, located on the main floor of the Robarts Library.
  • Computing: The computer area of OISE/UT, located in the south wing of the third floor at 252 Bloor St. W., contains many computers (all connected to the internet) and related hardware (e.g., scanners, printers).
  • Multimedia: OISE students and faculty can borrow various types of multimedia devices, including digital cameras, digital projectors, VCRs, tape players and tripods.

Web Resources.
My website contains many resources - directly on the site and linked to it - that I hope are of great use to students enrolled in CTL 1209. Annotated links to these are provided at right.
  • Educational Resources: This is the link to the front page for all my online resources. From here, anyone can gain access to resources developed and/or gathered by me in four categories.
Students in CTL 1209 may find that these two sections of my Educational Resources are most useful to them:
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