Course Syllabus

Course Title: Fundamentals of Scientific Teaching and Pedagogy

Semester: Course offered each Fall

Location: Stratton Hall Room 308 for in person sessions and Zoom for other class sessions

Course Number: ID 527 F01

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

Course Registration: Registration required, use Workday to register. Postdocs should officially register as a non-degree student using this form starting week of August 15.  

Course Directors: Rory Flinn ( and Caitlin Keller (

A course run each Fall 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 recorded lectures and active learning each week, and will work 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 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 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 an hour and 50 minutes in length, with students expected to view a pre-recorded lecture in advance of class sessions. Class sessions will be used for activities, project work, and to gain practice with teaching skills. Students will be provided supplemental reading during the course.  

Students will develop a 15 minute teachable unit, which they will present to the rest of the class in the final class sessions. Students will also prepare a mock course website for the ‘course’ their teachable unit would be part of. Students will prepare a statement of teaching philosophy and will be provided feedback for future revision. 


Course Summary:

Date Details Due