Introduction to Effective Teaching in STEM

What do we currently know about how students learn? How does this evidence inform our approach to designing a course that promotes and effectively assesses student learning? This four-part series is designed for STEM post-docs and graduate students who are looking for an introduction to the elements of inclusive teaching, active learning, course design, and assessment. The series will culminate in a micro-teaching experience where participants will have an opportunity to implement what they have learned in a mini-lesson and receive immediate feedback.
Course capacity: 8.
Course fee: $10.

Dates & Times

Tuesdays, February 21st, 28th, March 7th, 14th, 4:30 – 6:30 pm.

Session Descriptions

Fostering Inclusive Classrooms for Student Learning

We will begin this series with a discussion of what it means to teach inclusively. We will identify different types of diversity (including student approaches to learning) and use this to reflect on our own approaches to teaching and learning. We will also explore topics of stereotype threat and implicit bias, and discuss how a growth mindset relates to these topics.

How Learning Works and a Framework for Course Design

In this next session, we will examine our current understanding of how learning works, particularly the role of prior knowledge. Participants will be introduced to the process of backward design, and will be able to identify and apply the steps of aligning a course. We will also examine the elements of a strong learning objective. At the end of the session, we will being to draft learning objectives for the mini-lesson to be delivered in the fourth session.

Teaching Methods and Assessing Learning

Learning objectives and goals drive the choice of teaching methods. We will explore this alignment further in this third session, and will discuss active learning strategies that have been shown to enhance student learning. We will also discuss how to assess whether your students are “getting it”. Participants will be able to compare and contrast formative and summative assessments and will apply this knowledge of teaching methods and assessment to their mini-lesson plans.

Practice What You’ve Learned Through Microteaching

Microteaching is a teacher training technique originally developed by the School of Education at Stanford University in 1963. This technique simulates a real teaching situation, allowing participants to develop their teaching skills in a scaled-down version of a real class, with the unique benefit of immediate feedback by colleagues and supervisors. This training helps participants enter the classroom with greater confidence in their teaching ability. For this session, participants will prepare and present a seven-minute lesson to your peers, while it is simultaneously recorded. You will observe and provide feedback on your peers’ presentations when you are not presenting. The entire session will last about two hours and you will have access to the video for review.


Kiki Zissimopoulos, PhD, Associate Director, Chicago Center for Teaching

Kiki has been at the University of Chicago since 2015, after working in the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University for 2 years. In her current role she collaborates with graduate students, faculty, and administrators to develop courses, programming and structures that support teaching and learning on campus. Kiki received her PhD in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University and has worked in graduate student and faculty development since 2010. She has published on teaching and learning and teaches at the Institute for Molecular Engineering.