An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching

This seven-week course explores effective teaching strategies for college or university STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) classrooms

About The Course

This course will provide graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) who are planning college and university faculty careers with an introduction to evidence-based teaching practices. Participants will learn about effective teaching strategies and the research that supports them, and they will apply what they learn to the design of lessons and assignments they can use in future teaching opportunities. Those who complete the course will be more informed and confident teachers, equipped for greater success in the undergraduate classroom.

The course will draw 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 22 research universities collaborating in the preparation of STEM graduate students and post-docs as future faculty members. The seven-week course will be highly interactive, with many opportunities for peer-to-peer learning. Learning communities are at the heart of CIRTL’s activities, and this open, online course is intended to foster a large, healthy learning community of those interested in undergraduate STEM teaching--including current STEM faculty.

"An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching" has been developed by faculty, staff, and students at Vanderbilt University, Michigan State University, Boston University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Colorado-Boulder. The course is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1347605.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this course?
Participants who score at least 80% across the weekly quizzes will receive a Statement of Accomplishment. Participants who score at least 80% across the weekly quizzes and the three peer-graded assignments will receive a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction.

Are there any required readings for this course?
There's no textbook, but during a few of the weeks participants will be directed to journal articles or websites that are freely available online.Most of the content for the course will be found in the course videos.

Do I need to be teaching a class in order to benefit from this course?
No, this course is designed primarily for future STEM faculty, that is, graduate students and post-docs planning faculty careers. If you happen to be in a teaching position of some kind (even as a teaching assistant) while the course runs, you may find it useful to "pilot" some of the teaching strategies discussed in the course, but that's not essential to participation in the course.

Is this course open to those at institutions not affiliated with the CIRTL Network?
Yes! Although the course has been developed by faculty, staff, and students at CIRTL Network institutions, it is intended for anyone interested in becoming a more effective undergraduate STEM teacher, regardless of institutional affiliation.

Do I need to be part of a local learning community to participate in the course?
No. Meeting with a local learning group or study group is a great way to get more out of the course experience, but it is not required.

Do I need to be a graduate student or post-doc (in a STEM field) to enroll?
No. Anyone is welcome to enroll, but the course is designed for graduate students and post-docs with aspirations of teaching STEM courses in higher education.

Where can I find this course on Twitter?
You don't need to use Twitter to participate in the course, but if you are on Twitter, you're welcome to follow the course account, @CIRTLMOOC. Also, if you tweet about the course, please use the hashtag #STEMTeaching so that we can find your tweets more easily.

Recommended Background

The course is intended for graduate students and post-docs in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) planning faculty careers who are interested in developing their teaching skills. We expect that current STEM faculty, particularly early-career faculty, will find the course useful, as well. Others interested in undergraduate STEM teaching are welcome to participate.