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Course Kit Concept

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The Course Kit: a planning tool for educators

The SciCultureD Course Kit is a freely-accessible toolkit to plan a transdisciplinary course/module/unit or activity that responds to a given societal challenge to generate change and impact.

The kit will help you combine design thinking with creative teaching and learning using different cards on a dashboard as tools to help you playfully plan.

Remember: there is no right answer and you will need to rely on your intuition and sense of creative flow to inform which cards are used and when to create your course. 

The outcome of your planned course can be extremely open: a public performance, a group portfolio, an actual product, a company pitch or a community intervention. 


The elements of the Course Kit


The cards

The Course Kit provides you with 9 suites of cards and one challenge card that you can use to design your course, module or activity
Explore cards


Double Diamond process

Participants will first ‘discover’ the challenge more widely , define the real problem, develop concepts and finally choose a future solution.

Players & Tutors

Work with at least two experts from different disciplines as tutors. Don’t forget to consider your groups — are there enough mixed disciplines to really steer transdisciplinary collaboration?

The Cards:
There is a ‘Challenge’ card and nine suits of cards. In each suit you’ll find two versions of the same card, one with a divergent triangle and one with a convergent triangle. This allows you to use the cards relevant to the process of the double diamond you’re in. All cards have a description on the back that explains or suggest how to use it.

The Suits

  • Conceptual suits: There are four main suits that you’ll initially layout onto the board’s double diamond to create the conceptual or ‘bigger picture’ version of your course: Creative Pedagogies, Design Thinking, Reflective Perspectives and Probe the Challenge. These cards describe the flow of the course – its intensity, depth and innovative character. 
  • Session-by-session suits: once you have a clearer idea of your course, you can then add in cards from the other five suits: Type of Teaching Block, Type of Virtual Teaching Tools, Facilitator Type, Grouping Type and Wild Cards. This will develop your ‘bigger picture’ planning into concrete teaching plans. 

You might first start using these CourseKit cards in the specific order we describe above, and we would recommend this approach for beginners. However, you can also start with the session-by-session part of the course and think about the conceptual layer later on. CourseKit leaves space for both options.  

The Board: The double-diamond represents the design thinking and creative process that your participants will engage with. The intention is to encourage them to take shared ownership of the process.  The double diamond can represent almost any length of the course from one day to one week or even just two hours. The longer the course, the more columns you are likely to have. There is a space for you to indicate your course timeline. 

TIP: a short two-hour workshop is better suited to occupy just one ‘diamond’. 

Scribble Boxes: The board also has two Scribble Boxes to note: 

  • Your participants’ learning intentions (what would you like to achieve with this course?);
  • outcomes and types of learning, helping  keep track of learning objectives and course outcomes if this is the language you work with. 
  • Your course timeline, defining the duration of the course, number of lectures/activities and duration of each one of them.

Use these boxes at the beginning to define the intentions, and then edit the outcomes and timeline as you go.

An overview of the board with cards from the Creative Pedagogies and Design Thinking suites.
The board with the Timeline, Intentions and Outcomes boxes pulled up. In the print-out version, use sticky notes at the bottom of the board.



The Course Kit Glossary offers detail about all the different types of cards that you can use to design your course, workshop, or module. Do read these to understand what each card is about. The cards draw from examples from the SciCulture Course that brought together artists, scientists, educators and entrepreneurs to address a societal challenge. 

There is a challenge card and nine suits. Suits include the conceptual cards to help you think about the bigger picture normally laid out first, called: Creative Pedagogies, Design Thinking Loops, Reflective Perspectives and Probe the Challenge.

 The other set of suits is the session-by-session cards laid out later to make your course concrete, namely: Type of Teaching Block, Type of Virtual Teaching Tools, Facilitator Type, Grouping Type and Wild Cards.

Click on the buttons to learn more about the cards.

Challenge suit

The “Challenge” is the common thread that runs through the course which enables participants to work within teams to examine, re-imagine and respond to a subject/issue of contemporary society. It allows facilitators and participants to connect all the course’s different elements/disciplines to a specific theme relevant to our world.

E.g.  in SciCulture courses 1 and 2 the challenge theme was based on re-imagining education in the age of the Anthropocene. This subject set the stage for teams to ask curiosity-driven questions on the topic, develop critical thinking and to identify new opportunities and creative responses towards a specific challenge they identified within the theme.

How is the Challenge being explored at this stage? Create something tangible, that supports and questions thinking, reasoning and actions.

Creative Pedagogies suit

This suit of cards collects 8 pedagogical features that emphasise the leading role of creativity for successful learning, empowering participants in becoming creators of themselves and creators of their future. Use these cards to create the conceptual or ‘bigger picture’ version of your course, helping you describe its innovative character.

Facilitators and participants ask curiosity-driven questions which lead to new ideas and then lead to more questions; it involves conflict, difference, challenge and inhabiting others’ perspectives, whilst engaging with the space in between perspectives; it can happen through words, movement, visuals etc.
E.g. All SciCulture courses take a ‘no right answer approach’ and begin with open space for students’ questions on the chosen theme, with student groups facilitated to continue answering and questioning across the 5 days to hone their ultimate question and response to it. The image shows students dialoguing together between resources and their own questions about balance.


E.g. in SciCulture courses 1 and 2 the challenge theme was based on re-imagining education in the age of the Anthropocene. This subject set the stage for teams to ask curiosity-driven questions on the topic, develop critical thinking and to identify new opportunities and creative responses towards a specific challenge they identified within the theme.

Science, entrepreneurship and the arts involve individual passions but are inherently collaborative. SciCulture encourages this within communal/small group engagement in problem-setting and responding with an emphasis on action and, where appropriate, activism to make change happen.

E.g. SciCulture Course 2 groups worked with animation incorporated in performance pieces to collaboratively respond in small groups to a communally shared problem of how education should/might be in response to the Anthropocene. These performances became activist workshops with University of Bergen students after the course.

Facilitators and participants consider the implications and complex impacts of their creative processes and products, engaging with felt knowledge and problem-solving; considering with empathy how they can act as trustees of their community’s values, now and in the future.  

E.g. All SciCulture courses start with ethics of working practices sessions to manage expectations. SciCulture course 2 featured a strong thread focused on human responsibility to other animals in an era of environmental destruction and species extinction. 

Using the different processes of science, design thinking, entrepreneurship and the arts as needed to respond to problems and challenges, without one discipline dominating unnecessarily.

E.g. SciCulture course 2 co-led dance/design thinking workshops which questioned how education, embodiment and the environment can fruitfully intersect to address problems of the Anthropocene; working with a choreographic process, design thinking loops and related knowledge and skills to create collaborative performative responses to the challenge, and simultaneously generate critical thinking and reflection.

SciCultureC promotes a balance between control/freedom, structure and openness, arts/science/entrepreneurship; facilitators balance stepping in with expertise and stepping back to provide space for questions and responses. Navigation is about acknowledging educational tensions and dilemmas such as assessment, educational marketisation, and resource/time pressures.

E.g. In all SciCulture courses facilitators design for balancing different disciplinary inputs, use session structures that allow for stepping in and back (e.g. facilitated group time), and e.g. pragmatically debate neo-liberalism as a challenge to aspirational, open-ended educational endeavours.

Facilitators create a safe environment allowing playful immersion in risk-taking. Aids include socialising, empathising, reducing feelings of hierarchy where possible, modelling playful behaviour, grounding the course in participants’ real-life experiences, and often using the arts as an emotive starting point.

E.g. In SciCulture course 2 a scientific debate was made playful by asking participants to position themselves in space depending on their perspective on a particular argument – this was potentially risky and exposing but students became immersed in debating options. This happened later in the course when students felt comfortable with each other.

SciCulture aims to create space for possibilities (broad or narrow as appropriate), opening multiple avenues in terms of thinking and spaces. This involves shifting from asking ‘what is this’ to ‘what can I do with this?’ to ‘what if?’ questions.

E.g. SciCulture course 2 used moveable walls to capture groups’ ongoing responses as they emerged; these were increasingly covered in post-its, crafts, artworks, and objects (e.g. a skeleton). The wall was referred to and refreshed as their response to the challenge question progressed.

This involves empowering the participants, encouraging them to own both their questioning and mistakes, whilst helping them develop their skills and knowledge to act and respond. Facilitators encourage them to reflect upon and come to understand their creative processes, both shared and individual, perhaps over prioritising polished products.

E.g. In SciCulture course 1 and 2, after being empowered to raise their own questions, groups produced extremely varied outputs such as designs for Special Educational Needs accessibility equipment, theatre installations promoting new environmental educational futures, virtual learning platform designs for global idea and resource sharing, and provocative toolkits to promote others in designing their own educational futures.

Design Thinking suit

This suit of cards collects three strands of Design Thinking that help loop between contrasting perspectives, exploring the dialogues and relationships in between. Use these cards to steer discussion and shift perspectives when broadly designing the course.

Exploring the relationship between societal issues and needs on one hand, and how science and technology development on the other, participants are encouraged to explore topics from a variety of different perspectives in an empathic way and to see dialogue between science/technology and society.

E.g. In SciCulture course 1 and 2, students combine the results from climate research and societal reactions. Society and scientific research both influence each other.

Theory and practice are drawn from science, arts and entrepreneurship. They are brought into dialogue to explore their relationship: theory and practice support and critique each other, allowing empathy to become part of the process. Through research in practice, participants challenge assumptions and empathize with people and their different contexts.

E.g. In SciCulture course 1 and 2 students used a ‘morphological chart’ to combine their insights from practice and theory.

In the reason-intuition strand of design thinking, intuitive and rational aspects of thought play off each other, critiquing one another to develop a deeper understanding of the issue. This is key to finding the essence of the problem that the design is addressing, working empathically to develop a response.

E.g. in In SciCulture course 1 and 2 the students were asked to express themselves through creation of play, dance, & artefacts in an intuitive way in order to develop their ideas about how science and society are connected by human ideas and emotions.

Reflective Perspectives suit

This suit of cards collects four perspectives that help you combine creative approaches within, across and between different disciplines.  Use these cards to encourage different approaches to a solution and test new perspectives when defining the ‘bigger picture’ of your course.

Scientific perspectives draw on scientific ideas and processes, including practical inquiry, history and philosophy of science as well as scientific methods and knowledge. They should aid reflection, thinking and exploring of the challenge.

Technological perspectives consider the application of technology to enhance human’s ability to influence and alter others and their environment. These perspectives trigger reflections about innovation and the future. They enable critical exploration of the role and potential that technology plays in shaping the future.

Artistic perspectives enable diverse insights; reflecting on the challenge in ways that are embodied, performative and responsive. Explore the challenge via dance/choreography, participatory theatre, spray-paint animation, installation art, stand-up comedy style socials, poetry or other forms.

Entrepreneurial perspectives are practical and realistic. They innovate by finding solutions to problems. An entrepreneur spots opportunities to develop new or better products and services to turn into profitable and socially aware businesses.

Type of Teaching Block

This suit collects various teaching activities spanning from individual time to group work. It suggests creative formats to be used as relevant when planning the course session-by-session.

These are blocks of approximately 30 minutes, in which information is shared by an expert through direct instruction as a stimulus for workshop and group sessions. The kinds of information shared might be content knowledge within science, arts, or entrepreneurial disciplines or direct instruction in a skill.

These sessions are facilitated by expert instructors, ideally from different disciplines. Participants have the opportunity to work in their groups on their own project, but with the support of the facilitators ‘stepping in and stepping out’ to ask questions, offer support or provoke thinking. Facilitators need to actively listen.

Participants work in groups not supported by facilitators, in order to develop their own experiences in the various design thinking stages. They deal with this as individuals and/or a team.

Here people work together in an open way by asking diverging questions to stimulate others to deepen their thinking. Artefact creation may help team interactions to allow them to simultaneously think and do.

Practical workshops offer a ‘hands-on, minds-on’ approach to learning about specific content, ideas or processes that may be situated in any SciCulture discipline, or transdisciplinary in nature. In engaging practically with materials, participants are prompted to make connections between the observed/experienced and the main challenge card.

A logbook is a means for making-based reflection. The logbook can take many forms: large paper sheets, books, 3D shapes, mood boards, movable walls, images, etc. groups use logbooks to keep track of their thinking, reflections and their progress.

Social activities offer opportunities for participants to mix across groups and nationalities. They encourage discussion and informal engagement of the questions, ideas and solutions being explored in the course, as well as a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

These involve hikes up mountains, museum visits, swims and other fun activities outside the main educational building to help contextualise ideas within where the course is being held. The participants can work, play and discuss with others.

Opportunity to take time to think and reflect on your own is important in an intensive experience. Using an individual reflective journal one can track one’s own thinking and progress.

Blank cards for other formats – acknowledging that there are ‘multiple teaching block formats’

Facilitator Type

This suit proposes six types of tutors who will plan, support, and/or facilitate one or more sessions of the course, bringing a key contribution to the learning outcomes. To be used as relevant when planning the course session-by-session.

The Core team are the expert instructors drawn from different disciplines who plan, support and facilitate the course.

Subject experts are outside experts invited to offer disciplinary insights into a specific topic. Experts can be local and attend physically or join virtually.

Local professionals are invited to join the course to offer a professional perspective with contextual and/or disciplinary insights into the specific topic for the course. Examples include professionals from local social enterprises, businesses, design clusters, maker spaces etc.

‘Participants’ refers to the students on the course, in the SciCulture course we acknowledged that participants also facilitate learning from each other, and the core team/experts are also learners.

Stakeholders refer to people who have an interest or concern relevant to the Challenge card.  They are invited to give insights to the course. Examples might include community leaders, teachers, local government officials etc.

Peer Facilitators refer to people who have a knowledge of SciCulture Courses who wish to offer subject expertise or course knowledge in order to facilitate the course.

Grouping type

This suit suggests four ways to join participants in teams to steer interaction and collaboration during the course activities. To be used as relevant when planning the course session-by-session.

AlI participants are grouped into various ‘home groups’. Once in a home group participants work together throughout the course. A home group should be composed of participants from different disciplines. This group focuses on addressing the Challenge.

In this grouping mode, participants are mixed so that they are working with others who are not from their home group.

Whole group refers to teaching all of the course participants as a single group.

Blank cards for other – acknowledging that there are multiple ways of groups participants and facilitators

Type of Virtual Teaching Tool

This suit collects nine suggestions of virtual teaching tools, both group activities and individual work, expanding collaborative and learning opportunities through virtual technologies. To be used as relevant when planning the course session-by-session.

Using tools such as padlet, mural or onenote, provide opportunities for learners to work together, either synchronously or asynchronously. This may be facilitated by a tutor, or independently.

Using tools such as mentimeter, or simply chat responses, emojis or raising hands within an online synchronous meeting platform, encourage learners to respond to directly taught content to enable tutor response and to open space for dialogue and reflection.

Using pre-sourced digital games to provide learners with a fun place to learn together. Discussion about the learning can take place following gameplay facilitated by a tutor.

Using an online meeting room such as Zoom or Microsoft teams allow students to show their pre-set work and discuss it. This can be a performance piece, artefact, picture, video, audio piece or piece of writing.

Using an online meeting room such as Zoom or Microsoft teams allow students to show their pre-set work and discuss it. This can be a performance piece, artefact, picture, video, audio piece or piece of writing.

In smaller groups, learners can work creatively to respond to each other in synchronous online meetings using gesture, movement and physical artefacts as well as faces and words.

Ask participants individually or collaboratively to write a blog about their challenge and response – ask others to comment on it and debate it with them.

Ask home groups to build a Wiki together around their challenge and response as a means to see it at a distance and think what it might look like ‘from the outside’.

Explore new digital collaboration tools – there are more of these becoming available all the time!

Wild Cards

Wild Cards collects 16 suggestions to be used in any phase to stimulate thinking, discussions, or encouraging embodiment, space exploration and unusual actions.

“don’t forget science and arts are both creative”

“what music might you listen to while you’re working”

“read an online newspaper headline – how does it influence what you’re doing?”

“ ….. add your own …..”

“Open the Space of the workflow by readjusting group roles, changing the question or direction of the planning”

“As a team go for a walk outside – look up and find things that you’ve never noticed before. Come back and see where you might go next with planning”.

“If you can’t put ‘what next’ into words – try doodling it or finding an online image that sums it up”

“Think of metaphors/similes that might help you think about the stage of planning that you’re at – Ben Okri (poet) talks about needing to be like ‘adaptive mariners’; what metaphors might help you plan what’s next?”

“Pick any book from your shelf, open a random page and point your finger to a place on the page – how does that word help you to move on?”

“Make hand gestures, while you imagine how your course feels”.

“How does your course move: linear, pulse, acceleration, drag, curve, angular”

“Draw a (abstract) landscape that resembles your course, is it worth a visit?”

“Generate enough distraction to gain focus”

“Value the gaps between the layed out cards in front of you, this rough meaningful connections trigger your agility.”

“Can you describe this from the viewpoint of the person opposite you?”

Include some blank wild cards for people to write their own

White Cards

Some suits of cards include a blank card to give spaces for participants to write additional suggestions, acknowledging that there are multiple ways and undiscovered ones.

For feedback about the toolkit please email

The double-diamond dashboard

The consecutive parts of the double diamond are: Discover (divergent), Define (convergent), Develop (divergent again) and Deliver (convergent again). This means that your participants will first start to ‘discover’ and explore the challenge more widely and deeply, define the real problem, develop various ideas and finally choose a future solution.

The dashboard is based on the design thinking methodology. It is a framework  to understand problems and provide solutions based on the principles of Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test (learn more about the British Design Council Double Diamond methodology). Our dashboard helps applying a design thinking approach as a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine the problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test.

 The Double Diamond by the Design Council is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.

Remember, participants should begin with open dialogue to generate multiple ideas, then critically converge through dialogue again on a particular set of ideas and reflect on their ethical value.  Using these as a starting point allows you to encourage further possibilities from which participants then refine and move towards a particular response that has the capacity to make meaningful, ethical change and finally, for participants to share this solution by the end of the course/unit/module.


The first diamond helps people understand, rather than simply assume, what the problem is. It involves speaking to and spending time with people who are affected by the issues.


The insight gathered from the discovery phase can help you to define the challenge in a different way.


The second diamond encourages people to give different answers to the clearly defined problem, seeking inspiration from elsewhere and co-designing with a range of different people.


Delivery involves testing out different solutions at small-scale, rejecting those that will not work and improving the ones that will.