CIRTL: An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching
Learn how to implement evidence-based teaching strategies in your university classroom as well as effective methods for assessing teaching and learning. Note: This CIRTL course is hosted by Cornell University on the EdX platform, but content, instruction, and course management are supported by the CIRTL Network.
An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching
About this courseSkip About this course
This course is designed to provide future STEM faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows with an introduction to effective teaching strategies and the research that supports them.
The goal of the eight-week course is to equip the next generation of STEM faculty to be effective teachers, thus improving the learning experience for the thousands of students they will teach.
The course draws on the expertise of experienced STEM faculty, educational researchers, and staff from university teaching centers, many of them affiliated with the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), a network of research universities collaborating in the preparation of STEM graduate students and post-docs as future faculty members.
At a glance
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- Key learning principles such as the role of mental models in learning and the importance of practice and feedback
- Fundamental elements of course design, including the development of learning objectives and assessments of learning aligned with those objectives
- Teaching strategies for fostering active learning and inclusive classroom environments
Week 1 – Principles of Learning, Part 1
We start by exploring a few key learning principles that apply in all teaching contexts such as student’s prior knowledge, mental models and knowledge organization. We’ll consider the research supporting these principles and examples of how faculty implement them.
Week 2 – Principles of Learning, Part 2
We continue our exploration of learning principles that apply in all teaching contexts, Including effective ways of providing feedback to students and their motivations for learning. We’ll consider the research supporting these principles and examples of how STEM faculty put them into practice.
Week 3 – Learning Objectives
Designing an effective learning experience for students means beginning with the end in mind. This week, we will identify ways to craft learning objectives for students and discuss strategies for incorporating those objectives into your instruction.
Week 4 – Assessment of Learning
Once we have outlined and implemented our learning objectives we must consider ways of assessing those learning objectives. We will discuss strategies for designing assessments that will align with your learning goals as well as how student mindset can influence their performance on these assessments.
Week 5 – Active Learning
We beginwith a description of the benefits of active learning and how it fits into the overall learning cycle. Then, the module outlines two key features of active learning, teamwork and critical thinking, by showcasing several manifestations of active learning.
Week 6 – Inclusive Teaching
We will discuss inclusive teaching and many of the issues instructors can face when teaching classes composed of students of varying ethnicities and genders. We provide examples of teaching practices and language that can isolate certain student populations along with strategies to avoid these practices.
Week 7 – Lesson Planning
This week you will create an annotated lesson plan for a class you might teach in the future incorporating many of the principles covered in this course.
Week 8 – Conclusion
In the final week of the course, you’ll provide feedback to your peers on their lesson plans and receive feedback on your lesson plan.