Computational Science: A Collaborative Approach to Engaging Stage 1 Science Students in Computational Thinking

The Initative Team

Initiative Lead
University College Dublin

Primary Contact
Maria Meehan

Initiative Budget


Initiative Type


Given the rising importance of computation in modern science, UCD’s status as the university of first choice for science undergraduates in Ireland, and its research-intensive focus, it is imperative that our science graduates possess the computational skills and thinking required for the knowledge economy. The main outcome of this T&L initiative will be the design, delivery, and evaluation of a Computational Science module, which will be offered to all incoming UCD Science undergraduates in Autumn Trimester, 2020-2021.

This module aims to develop students’ programming and computational skills, but within the context of science. This necessitates the involvement of academics from across all schools in the College. An evidenced-based approach will be taken in designing all aspects of the module. To do this, recent education research in computational science and international partners will be consulted. Students will participate as “students-as partners”, both at the design and testing stage of the module, and then in supporting the delivery as tutors.

Faculty will participate in a workshop, delivered by an international partner, aimed at outlining effective pedagogical approaches and learning tasks. Data will be collected throughout to enable an evaluation of the efficacy of the module in helping students achieve the learning outcomes.

For students in several of the science programmes this module will be a first step towards achieving programme outcome(s) related to the computational skills (a long-term goal for the college). Accordingly, we will conduct a mixed-methods study of the computational needs assessment of staff, postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers in the college.