Deliberative Democracy

The model of Deliberative Democracy (DD) pedagogy, an active learning strategy, is based on deliberative democratic models of citizen engagement in science policymaking. This integrative pedagogical approach, revises the delivery of conventional introductory science content around modules that engage students with current science policy controversies. Essential to this model is the scaffolding of individual and collaborative student experiences with peer-reviewed research, media coverage, and personal and community connections, which is built into the course structure. Through these experiences, students integrate both scientific and social and ethical content in the deliberative learning framework.

DD combines the components of Student Talk, as introduced by Tanner (2009) and Accountable Talk developed by Michaels (2008), with relevant social and civic issues. Tanner’s summary of research into Student Talk in science classrooms cites its efficacy in improving student mastery of biology concepts and highlights faculty perception that it promotes a collaborative, rather than competitive culture in undergraduate science. This collaborative culture, with a focus on societal context and civic engagement has been critical to successful recruitment and retention of women in STEM disciplines.


Deliberative Democracy Documents

General Overview

This document provides a brief overview of how Deliberative Democracy has been implemented at Portland State

DD General Overview Document.pdf

Module Information


This document provides and overview and student worksheets for the infectious disease module used in general chemistry.

Infectious Diseases Module Overview & Student Worksheets.pdf


Check back throughout 2018 and 2019 for additional modules.


Tanner, K. D.CBE – Life Sciences Education, 8, 89-94, 2009.

Michaels, S., O’Connor, C., & Resnick, L. B. Studies of Philosophy and Education, 2008, 27, 283-297.

Weasel, L.H. & Finkel, Liza, Journal of College Science Teaching 2016, 45, 38-45.