Course Syllabus

Course Title: Fundamentals of Scientific Teaching and Pedagogy

Semester: Course offered each summer in July-August

Timing: Annually in E2 Term. Timing for Summer 2021 course will be announced in Spring 2021 

Location: TBD

Course Number: ID527, CRN 32373

Course Credits: Zero credit graduate course with Pass/Fail grades assigned

Course Registration: Registration required, use Banner and search under Interdisciplinary starting in April 2020. Postdocs should complete this webform and select bachelors option to officially register as a non-degree student.  

Course Directors: Rory Flinn ( and Caitlin Keller (


A ten session course run each summer for graduate students and postdocs to bolster teaching proficiency through in depth and interactive sessions on the science behind student learning, scientific teaching, assessments and rubrics, active learning, project based learning, teaching technology, inclusive teaching and universal design, classroom and course management, and course design. Participants will learn through both lecture and practicum sessions each week, and will work in small groups to develop a short teachable unit incorporating the techniques learned throughout the course, which they will ultimately present at the conclusion of the series. Students will also individually develop their own statement of teaching philosophy and receive feedback on this document, a required document for most faculty job applications. Learning goals and outcomes for the pedagogy course are as follows:

Course Learning Goals:

  • Transformed teaching philosophy that incorporates current pedagogical best practices
  • Significant gain in knowledge on the practice of scientific teaching and ability to use this knowledge when designing courses and lessons
  • Augmented ability to effectively instruct a lesson using pedagogical best practices
  • Understanding of differences in student learning, universal design, and inclusive teaching practices to effectively and equitably teach to all students


Course Learning Outcomes:

  • Recognize the varying ways students learn and incorporate these when designing lessons and courses
  • Learn and utilize cognitive hierarchies to aid in course and lesson design
  • Distinguish significant learning from superficial learning
  • Implement active learning processes, including project based learning, to promote an engaged classroom environment and significant learning
  • Identify methods to formatively and summatively assess student learning in order to promote teaching effectiveness
  • Craft course and lesson learning goals that align with measurable learning outcomes
  • Use backwards lesson design theory to design courses and lessons that align course goals with assessments and learning activities
  • Design a group teachable unit and mock course page that demonstrate proficiency in the fundamentals of teaching
  • Develop a brief instructional plan for a single teachable concept, including learning outcomes, assessment strategy, and learning activities
  • Synthesize a statement of teaching philosophy that reflects a personal vision as a teacher and incorporates pedagogical best practices gleaned from course
  • Recognize that classrooms are diverse environments with variation in human experiences, abilities, characteristics, and resources and be able to integrate this knowledge into course and lesson design
  • Become familiar with recent classroom technologies and innovations and how to incorporate these in the classroom

Each class session will be 2 hours in length, with the first 75 minutes for instruction and the last 45 minutes for group work. 

Students must purchase their own copy of Scientific Teaching, by Christine Pfund, Jo Handelsman, and Sarah Miller. There will be assigned and suggested readings for each class session. Suggested readings will be provided and will be supplemental to the course text book.

Students will be assigned a group and will develop a 15 minute teachable unit with their group, which they will present to the rest of the class in the final class session. Each group will also prepare a mock course website for the ‘course’ their teachable unit would be part of. Each group must complete the assigned worksheets for each session and turn them in for feedback. Students will prepare a statement of teaching philosophy and will be provided feedback for future revision. Students must attend 6 out of 10 of the class sessions and complete the required assignments in order to pass the course.  

Schedule for the Summer 2021 course will be posted here in Spring 2021. For reference, the schedule for the 2020 course is being provided below. 

2020 Summer Course Schedule:


Course Schedule:


Session Topics


Assigned Reading

Practicum Activities/Assignments

July 14

Scientific Teaching; Course overview

Rory Flinn, Graduate Studies

Chapters 1 and 5

Groups assigned, begin Worksheets 1 and 2

July 16

Assessments and Rubrics

Mia Dubosarsky, STEM Education Center

Chapter 3

Asset Mapping and Team Charter activity. Begin worksheet 3.

July 21

How students learn

Erin Ottmar and Avery Harrison, Learning Sciences and Technology

Chapter 1

Worksheets 1 and 2 due.


July 23

Statements of Teaching Philosophy (SOTP) and US Higher Education System

Rory Flinn, Graduate Studies


Students outline SOTP; Groups. Worksheet 3  due.

July 28

Active Learning and Project Based Learning

Caitlin Keller, ATC

Chapter 2

Groups begin Worksheet 4.

July 30

Establishing inclusive courses/classroom

Tiffiny Butler, OMA and Biomedical Engineering

Chapter 4

Groups begin Worksheet 5; Worksheet 4 due.

August 4

Online learning and universal design

Caitlin Keller, ATC


Worksheet 5 due. SOTPs due.

August 6

Teaching Technology; Group project working session

Caitlin Keller, ATC


Groups work on  teachable units and mock canvas pages; Peer assessments of group members given out; Individual instructional plans due.  

August 11

Course design and course/class management

Rory Flinn, Graduate Studies; Rudra Kafle, Physics; Mike Johnson, Mathematical Sciences

A Self-Directed Guide to

Designing Courses for Significant Learning by L.Dee Finks

Groups practice teachable unit, and finalize canvas page; Group course Canvas page due end of class

August 13

Group teachable unit presentations

Groups present teachable units


Present Group Teachable Unit and provide feedback to other groups













Course Summary:

Date Details