Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 1 session / week, 2 hours / session
There are no prerequisites for this course.
This seminar was created in response to an appeal by science graduate students planning to pursue careers as academics. They wanted to complement the training they were getting in research with the opportunity to improve their ability to teach. Thus, this course was put together to demystify such topics as: using the latest research in student learning to improve teaching; developing a course; promoting active learning, problem solving and critical thinking; designing exams and assignments; dealing with problems and pitfalls in teaching with an emphasis on teaching science and engineering.
One of the most important findings in educational research is that students learn best by doing. Each class session will include opportunities for you to engage in active learning, small group discussions, and critical thinking. In-class and out-of-class assignments and readings will help you develop your own teaching practice (and I have chosen the word “practice” intentionally, because, effective learning (like effective anything) requires practice!!).
I hope this course will aid you in developing your professional identity as a teacher by giving you insights into how things work in the academy, and by providing opportunities for you to practice your professional skills.
If I’ve done a good job as the instructor and you’ve put effort into the course, by the end of the semester, you will be able to:
- Describe some of the latest research in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning in higher education, including research on diversity.
- Apply that research in your own teaching.
- Develop and utilize a set of teaching skills, including: Creating intended learning outcomes; planning & presenting a class; using active learning techniques; and employing feedback to improve your teaching, constructing effective problem set and exam questions, and creating an inclusive classroom.
- Formatively and summatively assess student learning.
- Write a teaching philosophy statement.
* We will talk about how to write intended learning outcomes. What do you notice about the characteristics of this list? For example, how is each learning outcome phrased?
Because I hope this is a class in which you will learn from one another as well as from me, my expectations about our work together this semester include:
- That you are willing to share your knowledge, opinions, and ideas in class.
- That you are open to the ideas and knowledge of your peers.
- That you will provide one another with clear, honest, concrete, and sensitive feedback on work that is done.
- That any concept that is unclear or confusing will be explored and examined.
Texts & Materials
You are expected to complete the relevant reading before each class session. The required and optional readings for each class are listed in the Readings section.
Assignments / Gradings
In addition, each class will have at least one small-group, active learning assignment.
Finally, each student will participate in a microteaching session, wherein s/he will give a 6–10 minute presentation to her / his peers (the rest of the class). Microteaching guidelines (for presenters and observers) are provided in the Assignments section.
The grade for this class is either Pass or No record. In order to pass the class, you must satisfactorily complete all of the post-class Assignments, and participate in class discussions and activities.