The purpose of this course is to enhance the teaching practice of graduate students planning a university career. Course content and methods also apply to graduate students planning a professional career and intending to teach college courses part time, as well as to those who plan to work in non-traditional and informal educational contexts.
Seminar on College Teaching and Learning is a one-semester one-credit seminar for graduate students who are currently teaching or who anticipate teaching full or part time in a college or university. This seminar will examine processes and strategies designed to enhance the teaching and learning process.
College Teaching and Learning will introduce you to learning and instructional theory as well as to selected concepts and strategies of instructional planning, delivery, management, and evaluation. Some emphasis will be placed on instructional delivery strategies.
Content and examples will focus on higher education. Nevertheless, this seminar is pertinent for those who may have to identify instructional and training needs, plan or acquire training programs or materials, and evaluate training effectiveness as part of their managerial or professional duties in a variety of non-profit, government, or private business contexts.
College Teaching and Learning recognizes the increasing interest and need within the academy to developing the teaching skills of the future professoriate in addition to research and service abilities (refer to, for example, the SUNY University Senate Graduate Committee’s resolution on Teaching as Part of Doctoral Education).
The chapters in the required course text, The New Professor’s Handbook: A Guide to Teaching and Research in Engineering and Science (Davidson and Ambrose--available at the Orange Student Bookstore), other material in this course guide, reading recommendations made during the seminar, and material from guest participants will serve as parameters within which most participants will operate. Individual areas of need and interest that exist or surface can be addressed in personal learning contracts.
Several study areas noted below provide a framework and the basis for in-class presentations and related learning activities. Guest presentations and participation in selected teaching experiences supplement such material. Additional topics can be added to the list based on learner experience and need.
At the completion of this seminar, given active participation, you should be able to:
The teaching and learning process employed in this course is based on the premise that adult students are mature learners who flourish in settings where considerable independence is expected and permissible. Thus, the process is a dynamic one that actively involves you in determining personal needs, potential, and capabilities. At the same time, I also assume that learners develop this independence at differing rates. Some of you will be ready for considerably independent learning and will use the course requirements and the in-class learning activities as vehicles for enhancing or supplementing personal learning. Others will require considerable guidance, at least initially, in setting goals, establishing learning activities, and evaluating individual progress. Obviously, the nature of a one-credit seminar limits some of the flexibility, but it is my hope that you can find ways of having the experience maximize your ability to be a successful scholar and educator.
Perhaps the best way to learn about teaching and learning is to plan and teach students while critically reflecting upon the process. To be successful in such planning, it is typically essential to dialogue and collaborate with colleagues. In this seminar, you will have an opportunity (individually and/or as a team) to plan and lead a seminar session(s) on a particular topic(s) that has been identified as important. Our approach is topical with specific related readings indicated for each session. The instructor, seminar participants, and occasional invited guests will share fully in presentation and discussion leadership.
College Teaching and Learning requires a commitment to attend and actively participate so that participants may raise relevant questions and insights, contribute examples from their own teaching and learning experiences, and critique seminar readings and materials. The experience and expertise of participants will enrich and enliven the seminar and will contribute to the further development of future offerings.
Evaluation and feedback are integral parts of any learning system whether a semester-long course, an intensive summer or weekend experience, or a personal learning endeavor. Evaluation is a tool for measuring personal progress toward individual or course goals. In addition, a formal institution like SUNY ESF requires that grades be established as marks for transcripts and degree completion.
Thus, in terms of feedback, it is my expectation that the communication process will indeed be a two-way street. Feedback should reflect not only how well the class objectives are being met, the effectiveness of the instructional facilitation, and the extent to which your individual needs are being fulfilled, but also the quality of student contribution and involvement. Consequently, your oral and written feedback, relative to the questions or concerns you may have, more information you need, and any evaluation you have of the process, the content, or me, will be welcome at any time.
I will use several approaches throughout the course to help in this evaluation and feedback. In addition, I provide evaluative feedback, if appropriate, through comments, advice, and resource suggestions in response to most submitted materials. Hopefully, these efforts will provide you some modeling regarding evaluation possibilities.
Personal evaluation and validation will come through a self-evaluation, peer evaluation, and instructor evaluation feedback process. I will use the ESF grading system’s plus and minus feature as a means of adjudicating for major differences in terms of learners’ participation and/or the quality of any submitted learning products.
1. The New Professor’s Handbook: A Guide to Teaching and Research in Engineering and Science. Davidson and Ambrose. 1994. VT: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
The following are recommended resources:
Additional materials will be distributed in class or provided through the course web page.
Following are the suggested core seminar requirements.
Your active participation in seminar activities, including appropriate study, through presentations, discussions, seminar leadership, reflection on your growth, small group work, and any evaluation activities is key to a productive course experience. In this seminar, you will have an opportunity (individually or as a team) to plan and lead a class session(s) on a selected topic(s) and an out-of-class practicum(a) (refer to the guidelines for seminar leadership below).
Objective: To facilitate your growth through contributive group membership and active learning participation.
To be a member of this seminar requires you to complete the assigned readings prior to each sessions. This is your "price of admission." References included in this syllabus, bibliographies in your texts, the texts themselves, and your own literature searching activity through ESF's and Syracuse University’s online databases, and the World Wide Web should be primary means or sources for identifying this knowledge base. You also should consider magazines, books, and journals directly related to your specialized area of interest or professional work if they contain material related to teaching and learning.
At a minimum, this reading effort should include the text required for the course, additional assigned readings, other related books and articles as they pertain to your professional specialization, and some familiarity with sources listed in the bibliography.
Objective: To facilitate your acquisition of a broad-based comprehension of related literature.
Complete a self-diagnosis of your seminar participation and leadership and participate in a peer feedback process. Refer to the guidelines for seminar leadership below.
Objective: To facilitate your ability to diagnose, articulate, and meet student learning needs.
Grades will be based on three criteria:
|Quality of preparation and participation||50%|
|Self-assessment of seminar leadership||20%|
|Peer-assessment of seminar leadership||30%|
Dr. Chuck M. Spuches, Associate Provost for Outreach
Outreach and Instructional Quality
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Adjunct Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, Syracuse University
office hours: by appointment
You should consider the following when you prepare to assume a formal seminar leadership role:
Beyond Lecturing: Aren't the most effective teachers the ones who use multiple techniques in the classroom?
by James Lang
Chornicle of Higher Education (login required)
New Directions for Teaching and Learning series
350 Sansome Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
ASHE/ERIC Higher Education Reports
The George Washington University
One Dupont Circle, Suite 630
Washington, DC 20036-1183
Phone: (202) 296-2597
The Chronicle of Higher Education (weekly newspaper)\
1255 Twenty-Third Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
National Teaching and Learning Forum
4041 North Central #700
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Additional readings from past seminars:
Angelo, T.A. (1991). Classroom research: Early lessons from success. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Barrie, J.M. & Presti, D. E. (1996). The World Wide Web as an Instructional Tool. Science, 18 October, pages 371 372.
Barr, R. B. & J. Tagg. (1995). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change, November/December, pages 13 - 25.
Boyer, E.L. (1990). Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate. A special report of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Lawrenceville, New Jersey: Princeton university Press.
Davis, B. G. (1993). Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Ehrman, S. C. (1995). Asking the right questions: What does research tell us about technology and higher learning? Change, March/April, pages 20 - 27.
Halpern, D.F. (1997). The war of the worlds: When students’ conceptual understanding clashes with their professors’. Chronicle of Higher Education, p. B5,March 14, 1997.
Hazel, E. (1995). "Improving laboratory teaching" in W.A.Wright, Teaching improvement practices: Successful strategies for higher education. Boston: Anker Publishing.
Kember, D. & J. McKay (1996). Action research into the quality of student learning. Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 67, No. 5, pp. 528 554.
Kuhn, G.W. & A. Quigley (1997). Creating practical knowledge through action research: Posing problems, solving problems, and improving daily practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. .
Owston, R.D. (1997). The World Wide Web: A technology to enhance teaching and learning? Educational Researcher, pp. 27 - 33.
Pestel, B.C. (1988). Some practical distinctions between preaching, teaching, and training. Journal of College Science Teaching, September, pages 26 - 31.
Young, J.R. (1997). Rethinking the role of the professor in an age of high-tech tools. The Chronicle of Higher Education, A26 - 28.
From Robert M. Diamond (1998). Designing & Assessing Courses & Curriculum: A Practical Guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Classroom Assessment Techniques; A New Book for College Teachers (2nd ed.), by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993 ($34.95).
The best basic reference on the various approaches to assessing students. Numerous case studies and examples.
Preparing for Promotion and Tenure Review: A Faculty Guide, by Robert M. Diamond. Bolton, Mass.: Anker, 1995 ($9.50).
An increasing number of institutions are recognizing teaching innovation and course and curriculum design as forms of scholarly and professional work. This booklet provides specific guidelines for documentation.
Redesigning Higher Education: Producing Dramatic Gains in Student Learning, Report 7, by Lion F. Gardiner. Washington, D.C.: Graduate School of Education and Human Development, George Washington University, 1996 ($18.00).
If you want a good and practical review of research on curriculum and course design, teaching, learning, and advising, this is the book.
The Course Syllabus: A Learning-Centered Approach, by Judith Grunert. Bolton, Mass.: Anker, 1997 ($14.95).
Provides you with practical suggestions on how you can improve student learning by providing them with quality information.
Tools for Teaching, by Barbara Gross Davis. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993 ($32.95).
A great place to start if you want to review your instructional options and get some sound advice on what to do and why. Contains forty nine succinct and practical chapters on everything from lectures, discussions, and small-group activities to dealing with a diverse student body, using technology, making out-of-class assignments, grading, and improving student learning and motivation.
Newsletters for Departmental Libraries
The National Teaching and Learning Forum, edited by James Rhem. Phoenix: Oryx Press. ($39.00 annually)
Six issues during the academic year. Faculty write about innovations they have tried and lessons they have learned. Includes reviews of most recent publications and resources.
The Teaching Professor, edited by Mary Ellen Weiman. Madison, Wis.: Magna Publications. ($41.00 annually)
Published monthly except July and August, this newsletter contains excellent brief articles on teaching-related topics with up-to-date reports on the latest research.
Note., Quantify discounts are available on all items.
This is an illustrative list of components to consider including in your course syllabus. Your decision about which elements to include and how to treat them should be entirely grounded in the content and nature of your course, your priorities, and your students' needs. Together, these elements comprise a road map to effective communication between you and your students and to your collective success.
The basic HTML format of this Web page may be easily adapted in order to put your course syllabus on the web.
American Association for Higher Education. (1994). From Idea to Prototype: The Peer Review of Teaching. Washington, DC: Author.
Anderson, Erin. (Ed.). (1993). Campus Use of the Teaching Portfolio: Twenty Five Profiles. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.
Edgerton, Russell, Hutchings, Patricia, & Quinlan, Kathleen. (1991). The Teaching Portfolio: Capturing the Scholarship in Teaching. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.
Hutchings, Pat. (1996). Making Teaching Community Property: A Menu for Peer Collaboration and Peer Review. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.
Seldin, Peter, & Associates. (1993). Successful Use of Teaching Portfolios. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.
Wright, D.L. (1998). Grading rubrics: Assessing students' work. Teaching at UNL, Vol. 20, No. 2 (pp. 1 - 3). University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Myriad Web sites describe new methods and materials for teaching science and engineering. Many approaches encourage students to work with instructors and fellow students to creatively solve real-world problems. Some approaches focus on particular disciplines. Here are a few:
Section: Special Report
Volume 53, Issue 48, Page A16