New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Science Studies: An Integral Part of a Research Based Master's Degree Curriculum

Tobias Schmohl, Hamburg Center for University Teaching & Learning (HUL) (Germany)


Science Studies (German: "Wissenschaftsforschung") is one of the core modules of a new master's degree program "Higher Education" at the Hamburg Center for University Teaching and Learning (HUL).

Subject matters of this executive program cover a broad field of higher educational issues:

One of the areas of reflection dealt with in this program are the epistemological premises and the underpinning assumptions of higher educational research. This philosophy of science view on teaching and learning leads towards a confrontation with methodological questions on research designs in this area. The discussion focuses in more detail onto the role of communication in educational practice and its research ("science rhetorics").

The intention of this module is to go beyond simple answers by focusing on the reflective nature of researchers investigating their own field ("scholarship of teaching and learning"). It addresses questions of higher educational research from a higher educational research perspective and therefore may be identified with the concept of "second order research": We hence aim at providing a new way of understanding higher educational research by following a second-order cybernetics and systems theories agenda referring to von Foerster, Maturana & Varela, von Glasersfeld and Luhmann.

We developed the master's program by conducting a design-based research methodology. Its curriculum follows the results of this research process and its conceptual design presented in this contribution therefore is to be classified as "research-based" rather than "based on experience".


[1] Schulmeister, R. (2004). Zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Studiengangs. In IZHD Hamburg (Ed.), „Master of Higher Education“: Modellversuch zur didaktischen Professionalisierung von Hochschullehrenden (pp. 11–20). Bielefeld: Webler.
[2] Merkt, M. (2010). Das studienbegleitende eLehrportfolio im "Master of Higher Education" – eine Fallstudie. MedienPädagogik: Zeitschrift für Theorie und Praxis der Medienbildung, 18. Retrieved from  
[3] Reinmann, G., & Schmohl, T. (in press). Der Master of Higher Education: Studiengangsentwicklung als zyklisch-iterativer Prozess. In P. Tremp, M. Weil, M. Schiefner, & B. Eugster (Eds.), Aktionsfelder der Hochschuldidaktik II. Münster: Waxmann.
[4] Bass, R. (1999). The scholarship of teaching: What’s the problem? INVENTIO: Creative thinking about learning and teaching, 1(1), 1–10.
[5] Golding, C. (2013). Must we gather data? A place for the philosophical study of higher education. Higher Education Research & Development, 32(1), 152–155.
[6] Glaserfeld, E. v. (1983). Declaration of the American Society for Cybernetics.
[7] Maturana, H. R., Varela, F. J., & Uribe, R. B. (1974). Autopoiesis: The organization of living systems, its characterization and a model. Biosystems, 5, 187–196.
[8] Luhmann, N., & Bednarz, J. (2005). Social systems (Reprinted.). Writing science. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Univ. Press.

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