Asee peer logo

Preparing Engineering Graduate Students To Teach: An Innovative Course Design And Evaluation

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.795.1 - 6.795.17



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Molly Johnson

author page

Cathie Scott

author page

Cynthia Atman

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2655

Preparing Engineering Graduate Students to Teach: An Innovative Course Design and Evaluation

Cathie Scott,* Molly Johnson,** Cynthia J. Atman* *University of Washington/**Agilent Technologies


In spring 2000 we designed and delivered a three-credit course to prepare students for careers in teaching. The course was offered through the industrial engineering department and was open to all engineering graduate students. Fourteen students enrolled—seven men and seven women— representing the industrial, civil and environmental, electrical, bioengineering, and materials sciences engineering disciplines. The course met for 100 minutes twice a week for 10 weeks.

The course content was defined by the instructors, but the instruction was (to a high degree) tailored to the understanding of the students because it was the students themselves who designed the instruction. The course focus was on reflective practice and on findings from cognitive science and education research and their application to engineering teaching and learning. Throughout the quarter, we tried to maintain a tension between theory and practice. On the theory side, students became familiar with conceptual change, memory, motivation, and other learning concepts. On the practice side, students were exposed to innovative teaching methods through the example of their instructors, through their readings, through exercises such as creation of concept maps and conceptual probes, through reflective essays and e-mails, and through two teaching assignments.

In this paper, we provide background on our rationale for course design and describe the course structure. We then show one student’s responses to a few of the assignments and activities used both to promote learning about the course concepts and to elicit student thinking about teaching and learning at different points in the course. Finally, we describe our course evaluation methods, summarize student responses to these evaluations, and provide our own reflections on the course.

Our Course Design Rationale

Ph.D. graduates who obtain faculty positions are well qualified in their discipline knowledge, but few enter their academic careers with any formal training in teaching. The dominant source of the conceptions of these new instructors about the teaching endeavor is based on their experiences as a student, and possibly as a teaching assistant. These experiences are dominated by lecture format courses where the student classroom involvement is primarily passive. Such

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Johnson, M., & Scott, C., & Atman, C. (2001, June), Preparing Engineering Graduate Students To Teach: An Innovative Course Design And Evaluation Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9664

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015