STEM showcase

Knowing and Learning in STEM: A Transdisciplinary Approach

MEd Interdisciplinary topic for practicing professionals


Master of Education - MEd Interdisciplinary (4 course program)



(Summer course will be offered at TELUS Spark. Students are responsible for their own transportation to that site).


One year (4 consecutive terms)


Graduate Program Administrator:
Cheryl Ohly

Academic Co-coordinators:
Dr. Marie-Claire Shanahan

Dr. Pratim Sengupta

Program Overview

Teaching from a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) perspective requires careful thought about the meaning of STEM and the complex experiences and processes of teaching and learning both within and across STEM disciplines and contexts. This certificate is designed to support educators in developing a deep understanding of: transdisciplinary STEM perspectives in K-16 education; learning and teaching within and across STEM disciplines using physical, computational and embodied modeling; and, how to design  these complex learning environments  This certificate will examine several different theoretical and pragmatic approaches that can support educators in creating a cohesive framework for understanding and developing their STEM experiences and practices. Participants will be guided to investigate how the everyday knowledge, perspectives, competencies, and practices of educators and learners constitute the starting point for meaningful STEM learning, and can be leveraged using state-of-art technologies and practices.

This 4-course graduate certificate represents an update to a previously offered and well-received MEd Interdisciplinary topic. This MEd Interdisciplinary topic extends upon the required course for BEd students in Werklund School of Education (EDUC 521), and addresses research and specialization course needs and interests of MA in Learning Sciences. Consultations with Telus SPARK have been incorporated into the redesign process, with TELUS Spark anticipated to host the Summer 2024 cohort at their location.

Program Details

These courses will provide students with the knowledge and experience needed to:

  • Understand the design of complex learning activities and environments that can meaningfully integrate and transcend disciplinary perspectives in STEM
  • Use theories of STEM learning and STEM education research to examine, critique and design curricular and day-to-day learning experiences
  • Theorize the challenges and opportunities of profession learning
  • Analyze professional learning practices for STEM educators and professionals

This topic is intended for educators in any setting with an interest in STEM education, for example:

  • Elementary and secondary teachers
  • Educators in informal settings, especially with children and youth
  • Learning coaches
  • Curriculum specialists and school district consultants
  • Post-secondary instructors

STEM education is recognized as a catalyst for economic and cultural change. As such, Career and Technology Education/Studies as well as technological literacies, problem-solving, critical thinking, and innovation skills remain strong areas of interest in all levels of schooling. Educators need thoughtful, engaging, and tangible approaches to meeting and encouraging students’ meaningful STEM learning.

A registration package will be sent to new students after they have been admitted. Registration for the summer term will be available in late winter. Fall and Winter registration opens in the spring. Your Graduate Program Administrator will send more information about registration to you.

Fee details are available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.

The University of Calgary offers multiple ways to meet the cost of your education. Please refer to the Awards, Scholarships and Bursaries page to learn more about options available to students. For additional information, please contact Student Financial Support.

Please refer to the MEd Interdisciplinary page for the latest Admission Requirements and Transcripts information.

Program Schedule & Course Descriptions

  • Program begins each Summer term (refer to the Academic Schedule for specific dates)
  • Outlines are normally available 1-2 weeks prior to the start of term in D2L
  • 3 units per course

Term 1 - Summer

Designing Complex Learning Environments I (Off campus)

This course will explore the design of complex learning activities and environments that can meaningfully integrate and transcend disciplinary perspectives in STEM. Participants will use first-person theories of STEM learning to examine, critique and design curriculum and day-to-day experiences, in both classroom and non-classroom settings, that take learners’ perspectives seriously. Participants will learn how to integrate playful engagement with physical, mathematical, and computational modeling that can also bring together multiple STEM disciplines, both in formal and informal settings.

It is expected that the Summer 2024 course will be offered off campus at TELUS Spark. Transportation to be arranged by student.

Registration info:
EDER 679.99 L01 (50653)

Term 2 - Fall

Designing Complex Learning Environments II (Online)

This course will extend the theory-practice connection begun in the previous course by probing the ways in which learning is researched and assessed in complex STEM environments. Participants will continue to work with their designs from the previous course, and a) examine topics and methods such as probing conceptual understanding, examining student language and conceptualizing student identities, and b) develop their abilities to use STEM education literature to inform practice and to use research-based strategies to examine their own designs. This course will be online.

Registration info:
EDER 679.60 L01 (75516)

Term 3 - Winter

Theorizing STEM (Online)

This course examines two related questions: What is the meaning of STEM in educational settings, and how does that meaning intersect with theories of knowing and learning in STEM contexts? There will be dual focus on examining the history of STEM as an educational framework and on tracing how learning within and across STEM disciplines has been understood throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. This course will be online.

Registration info:
EDER 679.61 L01 (15473)

Term 4 - Spring

Professional Learning in STEM (Online)

This course extends participants’ understanding of STEM towards creating and leading professional learning and development. Participants will interact with leaders, practitioners and experts in STEM education to begin to theorize the challenges and opportunities of profession learning. Participants will be introduced to professional learning opportunities beyond the duration of the course, and will develop competencies in the analysis of professional learning practices and in the planning and delivery of experiences in which STEM educators and professionals are also learners. This course will be online.

Registration info: