June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
13.47.1 - 13.47.6
A Hands-on Course on Teaching Engineering
Most of the training future faculty receive in graduate school focuses on the research aspects of the enterprise. The typical new faculty member has little if any opportunity to prepare for the teaching aspects of an academic career. In this paper I share my experiences in nine offerings of a graduate course on Teaching Engineering. The goal of the course is to prepare graduate students for the teaching responsibilities of a faculty position, acquaint them with learning theories, give them a chance to discuss teaching issues and give them practice preparing materials for a course they might teach someday. These materials include: Educational objectives using higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, textbooks and other supporting material, detailed syllabus, sample 10 minute lecture, open-ended project and/or design activity, and hourly exam. In addition students develop teaching philosophy and teaching interest statements to help define themselves as teachers and for possible future job searches. One of the most successful initiatives in this highly interactive course has been the implementation of “teaching partners,” who support each other through the process, providing feedback on all materials developed. In this paper, I describe this course and provide suggestions for faculty considering teaching such courses themselves.
This course had its origins in my participation in the National Effective Teaching Institute, run by Profs. Richard Felder and Jim Stice in 1994 1. This was an excellent introduction to many learning theories and preparation for effective course instruction. A session at an AIChE National Conference soon after that in which Philip Wankat outlined his teaching engineering course provided the incentive for the author to create her own course. I also have benefited tremendously from participations in workshops organized by the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching. Center staff have also provided a few workshops to the class itself, and in later years have joined us as discussants. The course has been offered 9 times to over 230 students and over 75 auditors. Wankat and Oreovicz’ textbook, Teaching Engineering 2, serves as the primary textbook for the course. It is supplemented by a number of readings available through the course website. In the rest of this paper students in the course will be referred to as “participants” to distinguish from the students in courses they might teach in the future.
Course objectives and components
The course outcomes are divided into three parts, as shown in Table 1. While Wankat and Oreovicz first address the preparation of course materials and then learning theories, I have found that starting with learning theories makes for a richer experience, as students can use this background in preparing the materials for a course they might teach in the future.
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