DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Practitioner Inquiry in Physics Education 1
Module Code PS474
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Eilish McLoughlin
Semester 2: Eilish McLoughlin
Autumn: Eilish McLoughlin
Module TeachersEilish McLoughlin
James Lovatt
Paul Grimes
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

This module will introduce participants to Practitioner Inquiry and Professional Learning Communities, both of which will be studied in the context of Inquiry Based Learning (IBL). Participants will be introduced to various models of IBL. They will look at IBL across the spectrum, from structured inquiry to open inquiry, and explore ways in which IBL can be used to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of physics. They will examine how IBL can be used in both practical and non-practical classroom work. They will explore how different elements of IBL (collaboration, argumentation, questioning, developing hypotheses, planning investigations, analysing and presenting data, discussing scientific concepts, drawing conclusions) can be used in different classroom contexts, and engage in hands-on examples of IBL activities.

Learning Outcomes

1. Use theories, concepts and evidence from key educational research to reflect on current teaching, learning and assessment practices in Physics education.
2. Demonstrate their understanding of how different elements of IBL can be used in different classroom contexts.
3. Design a Practitioner Inquiry (PI) to inquire into their own practice of using IBL in Physics education.
4. Engage in critical discussion and debate relating to physics education.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Portfolio Preparation25Students will be faciliated to design a Practitioner Inquiry to inquire into their own practice of using IBL in physics education. Students will draw on theories, concepts and evidence from key educational research to reflect on current teaching, learning and assessment practices in Physics education. Students will write a reflective piece on their development as a professional learning community during the week-long summer school.
Independent Study100Student self-directed learning
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Summer School
During a week long summer school students will reflect on how pedagogical practice within the classroom is intertwined with physics knowledge and skills. Students will learn about various stages involved in carrying out a practitioner inquiry and will develop plans for their own practitioner inquiries. Students will also write a reflective piece on their development as a community of learners during this week.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Professional PortfolioStudents will submit a professional portfolio to showcase their understanding of inquiry based learning, practitioner inquiry and professional learning communities. Students will present their design and plan for carrying out a Practitioner Inquiry to inquire into their own practice of using inquiry based learning in Physics education.100%As required
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Dana, N. & Yendol-Hoppey, D.,: 2014, The Reflective Educator's Guide to Classroom Research: Learning to Teach and Teaching to Learn Through Practitioner Inquiry, 2nd Edition Ed., Corwin,
  • Dana, N. , Thomas, C. and Boynton S.: 2011, Inquiry. A Districtwide Approach to Staff and Student Learning,, Corwin Sage Company.,
  • Harlen W.: 2012, Inquiry in science education,, https://www.fondationlamap. org/sites/default/files/upload/media/minisites/action_internationale/inquiry_in_science_education.pdf,
  • McDermott, L.C.: 1996, Physics by Inquiry: An Introduction to Physics and the Physical Sciences, John Wiley & Sons,
  • Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H., & Fung, I.: 2007, Teacher professional learning and development: Best evidence synthesis iteration, https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2515/15341 Auckland, New Zealand: University of Auckland,
Other Resources

0, Website, 0, ESTABLISH, European Science and Technology in Action: Building Links with Industry, School and Home., http://www.establish-fp7.eu/, 43560, Website, 0, FIBONACCI, Large scale dissemination of inquiry based science and mathematics education, http://www.fibonacci-project.eu/, 43561, Website, 0, Pathway, The Pathway to Inquiry based Science Teaching, http://pathway.ea.gr/, 43562, Website, 0, SAILS, Strategies for Assessment of Inquiry Learning in Science, http://sails-project.eu/, 43563, Website, 0, Science on Stage Ireland, http://www.scienceonstage.ie/resources/,
Programme or List of Programmes
PDITPProfessional Diploma in Teaching Physics

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement