Teaching Chemistry with Technology - 2nd Offering

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Course Description

In this course we explore the use of the Open Access (free-to-use) PhET Interactive Simulations in any level of chemistry teaching. Used by educators around the world, PhET simulations bring a set of worthwhile technology-enabled teaching tools to the classroom. Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project (University of Colorado Boulder) creates free interactive math and science simulations. These PhET simulations are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery.
During the course, participants will explore numerous examples of PhET simulations and how to incorporate them into classroom activities at both the K-12 and post-secondary level. Simulations, and other OERs, can be used to create active learning opportunities (online or offline) that can engage learners in chemistry education. TCTMOOC participants will have opportunities to meet in discussion forums and live sessions to discuss implementing PhET use in chemistry education. Over the duration of the course, chemistry and pedagogy experts will guide participants through the development of PhET simulation activity plans and worksheets that can be implemented in your classroom.

Course Contents

Week 1
1.1  How online learning works and the Community of Inquiry (CoI); MOOC participant expectations.
1.2  Science teaching philosophy (Scientific Method); What is TPACK and why you should care.
1.3  How do teachers use Phet in Chemistry.

Week 2
2.1  Active learning and simulations in Science Education.
2.2  What is PhET and how does it work.
2.3  How do teachers use PhET in Chemistry.
2.4  OERs, Creative Commons licensing, and why they are important for teaching.

Week 3
3.1  What is Blended learning?
3.2  Blended learning for chemistry teaching.
3.3  Planning PhET simulations in chemistry teaching.

Week 4
4.1  Planning your own simulation lesson using PhET.
4.2  Assessment for chemistry simulations.
4.3  Other technology tools for chemistry teaching.

Week 5
5.1  Evaluating chemistry lesson plans.
5.2  Reflections on teaching chemistry with technology.

Target audience

This course is open to anyone, anywhere, and is mobile-friendly. TCTMOOC has been designed to assist teachers, student teachers, teacher educators, and instructional designers to plan and develop a chemistry lesson and related assessments with technology. Chemistry teachers will benefit from the exploration tools, tactics, and strategies that expand their repertoire of chemistry teaching practice.

Outcomes of this Course

During this MOOC, you will:

  • Identify foundational elements of chemistry teaching,
  • Explore chemistry simulations and OER tools that support them,
  • Identify blended learning approaches for chemistry education,
  • Discuss strategies and tools for chemistry teaching with other teachers,
  • Develop a Chemistry Lesson Plan integrating technology for teaching and learning,
  • Evaluate a lesson plan using a pedagogical rubric.


Two levels of certification are available based on your level of participation and completion of tasks/activities:

  • Certificate of Participation requires 70% or more on each quiz and participation in at least three discussion forums.
  • Certificate of Completion requires 70% or more on each quiz, participation in at least three discussion forums, and successful completion of a Lesson Plan on Teaching Chemistry with Technology.

Certificates are made available at no charge as verifiable PDF documents.

Course Team


Dr. Nathaniel OSTASHEWSKI is Associate Professor of Open, Digital, and Distance Education at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada. He taught chemistry for 18 years in grades 7-12 and utilized active learning and technology in all his science teaching. Currently Dr. Ostashewski teaches graduate courses in distance education, research design, educational technology, and online and blended learning. He has been incorporating digital technology in teaching since 1990, both at the K12 and graduate education level. Since 1995 Nathaniel has been training educators how to incorporate technology-enabled learning into "worth-it" classroom, blended, and online activities. His extensive experience with digital media for education, OERs, online and blended instructional design/teaching strategies, and learner engagement tactics are evidenced in MOOCs he designs and teaches. Dr. Ostashewski has developed and taught several COL MOOCs such as the Introduction to Technology-Enabled Learning, Designing for Communities of Inquiry in Online Learning, and Leading Change in Teaching and Learning for a Digital World.


Prisca BYUKUSENGE completed her M.Ed. in Chemistry Education at the African Centre of Excellence for Innovative Teaching and Learning Mathematics and Sciences, University of Rwanda, College of Education. Her research focus is on computer-enabled learning. Prisca holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with Education awarded from the former Kigali Institute of Education.

Jenine HAWRYLUK is a doctoral student in distance education at Athabasca University. She has taught English for Academic Purposes in Canada and Lithuania, specifically focusing on academic writing, as well as English as a Second or Other Language and facilitated teacher training in several countries. Jenine is particularly interested in pedagogical approaches used in different intercultural contexts. She has two teen foster children, loves to create macrame wall hangings, and is looking forward to traveling again in the future. Jenine has facilitated in Leading Change in Teaching and Learning for a Digital World, Blended Learning Practice, Technology-Enabled Learning, and Learning to Learn Online, and brings that experience to support you in TCT.


Dan WILTON is an instructional designer and analytics specialist for MOOCs and other online initiatives in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Athabasca University, where he is also currently completing his doctoral studies into educational research collaboration. As your technical and participant support for TCTMOOC, he will be working closely with the instructional team to help monitor course activity and address any general questions or concerns.


Dr. Evode MUKAMA joined COL as Adviser: Teacher Education on August 1, 2022. Dr Mukama has had a long career in higher education with a focus on teacher professional development in ICT-enhanced learning, pedagogical skills and digital content development. He served as Associate Professor in digital education at the College of Education, University of Rwanda. He holds a PhD in Information and Communication Technology in Teacher Education from Linköping University, Sweden, a MEd in Curriculum Studies from University of Natal, Durban, South Africa, and a BEd from National University of Rwanda, Rwanda.