The need for positive pedagogy in multi-disciplinary STEM courses in higher education: an opinion piece

Priyank Shukla, Stephen McClean, Elizabeth Hidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-326
Number of pages3
JournalHigher Education Pedagogies
Issue number1
Early online date17 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

In Advance HE’s STEM 2019 conference held at Birmingham, one of the conference propositions was that inter-disciplinary approaches to learning and teaching in STEM are necessary to develop the graduate attributes demanded by students, employers and society. A number of presentations at this conference showcased some excellent innovative and inter-disciplinary approaches to learning and teaching in STEM. However, few raised the issue of pedagogical challenges in multi-disciplinary STEM courses and the research required in this area. The lead author of this opinion piece presented findings from a pilot case study at this conference, highlighting the challenge of teaching Computer Programming to students from a Biology background (Shukla, ). This work has now been further developed with funding support from Advance HE through its Small Development Project grant (Shukla, McClean & Hidson, ). We have made an attempt to address the stress and anxiety in students caused by the challenges of studying a cross-disciplinary subject (in this case Computer Programming) in a multi-disciplinary course environment (in this case BSc Hons in Personalised/Stratified Medicine). We have used the term ‘positive pedagogy’ in this respect and argued that pedagogic approaches which facilitate positivity in the classroom (O’Brien & Blue, ) are needed to support students’ wellbeing as much as their academic development.

Funding Information: This work was supported by the Advance HE under grant (reference number: GEN 1271) awarded to Dr Priyank Shukla (Principal Investigator), Professor Stephen McClean (Co-Investigator) and Dr Elizabeth Hidson (Co-Investigator). Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Positive Pedagogy
  • STEM; inter-disciplinary
  • cross-disciplinary
  • multi-disciplinary

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