Friday, January 29, 2010

Event Advertisement: Teaching Philosophy Workshop

Since so many Graduate Teaching Community members expressed interest in writing Teaching Philosophies, I thought you'd all like to know about this event that is happening. Hope to see some of you there!

Tuesday, February 2
5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. | Teaching Resources Center, 25 Wellman

Reflecting on Your Teaching and Crafting a Philosophy – Part 1
Teaching statements are often included as part of academic job applications. At the end of this two-part workshop you will have a fully drafted and peer-reviewed statement of teaching philosophy. In preparation for writing your essay, the first part of this workshop will help you reflect on what is important to you as a teacher and learn the fundamental components of a statement of teaching philosophy. You will leave part one with ideas and tools to draft your own teaching statement. Having reflected on what is important to you as a teacher, and learned the fundamental components of a statement of teaching philosophy, you will participate in a one-hour guided peer-review. Please bring a complete draft and four copies of your teaching statement to Part 2 of the workshop (February 16 5-6PM). No registration necessary. For more information about this workshop please contact Sharada Balachandran Orihuela at . Sponsored by the Teaching Resources Center.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Course Approval Process

If you are interested in the course approval process, the easiest way to do so is to work with a professor developing or modifying a course.  I am not sure I was very clear, but it is very unusual and difficult for a graduate student to use the course approval forms, but faculty develop courses regularly.  With the new GE requirements, I would expect that many courses need some updating and I would be surprised if the departments turned away extra help. 

In terms of actual development, I have a few suggestions:  Basically, be as complete as possible with your entries to each part. 
1.       Specify how students will be graded with as many details as you can. 
2.       Make sure you use the Carnegie rule to estimate the amount of time students will spend working on your class. 
3.       Check for typographical mistakes (we do find some on occasion). 
4.       Make sure your learning activities match what you say will happen in the course, i.e., do not talk about a term paper if you do not include term paper as a learning activity. 
5.       Think about other courses that cover similar material.  Explain specifically how yours differs. 

Remember you can break any rule if you justify breaking it.  Here are some helpful links:

UC Davis Committee on Courses of Instruction:


Friday, January 22, 2010

GTC Social at the Graduate

Monday was our first social gathering of the quarter. A bunch of GTC members came and shared some garlic-y fries, delicious frothy pitchers, and good conversation. We have another social currently scheduled for Monday February 15th at 5PM (there are no classes that day). Location TBA. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Teaching Resources Center event

Just sharing the announcement of the upcoming event in the Teaching Resources Center, leave some comments here if you get a chance to attend!

Teaching Careers Demystified
Thursday, Jan 21. 3:00-5:00 p.m.
Teaching Resources Center, 25 Wellman

Are you interested in a teaching career, but unsure of which job would best suit you?  Narrowing down the options now can help you determine exactly what you should do to prepare for a job in the future.  In this workshop, participants will discuss: the wide variety of teaching jobs available; which job best fits your strengths and interests; the application process for each type of job; and opportunities to acquire additional relevant teaching experience. No registration necessary. For more information about this workshop please contact Sharada Balachandran Orihuela at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Schedule for the Quarter

Here is the schedule for Winter 2010:

All events take place from 5 - 6:00PM in Wellman 25 except the 'Socials' which have different locations as noted.
1/18 - Social – At the Grad
1/25 - Course Approval Process
2/1 – Professional Writing for Undergrads
2/8 – Benefits of Interdisciplinary Education
2/15 – Social - At the Grad
2/22 – Student Centered Learning Successes, Failures and Strategies
3/1 – Philosophy of Education and Teaching Statements
3/8 – Student Assessment: How do you know if they 'get it?'
3/15 - GTC Quarter Reflection

Looks like a good quarter to me!

Launch of GTC Winter 2010

Looks like we're off to an exciting start for this quarter. New faces, new ideas and a new room: Wellman 25, which puts us all around the same table. About 24 of us attended, and again we're more represented in the sciences than the humanities, but still pretty broad. As we introduced ourselves and our interests in GTC, Caitlin collected our ideas and goals on the blackboard, and we divided into focus groups around some of the popular topics -- interdisciplinary classrooms, educational theory and statements of teaching philosophy, methods and technology for student centered learning, and similar ideas. Several groups have already signed up planned presentations; Cassandra will post the current schedule. Looking forward to a varied quarter with a mix of theory and practice, diverse disciplines and diverse ideas. Next week's a holiday and will be a social at the Graduate, 5-7 pm.

Here's the handout with GTC goals.

What did you think of the first session? What would you most like to see?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Converted Lecturer

This video covers many of the themes and challenges we discussed last quarter. It's long, but the he's an excellent speaker. Please leave comments! He doesn't go nearly as far as the Physics 7 program, though I think the basic principles are the same. Perhaps some of you are already familiar with Eric Mazur?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Intro and Concept Mapping

Welcome to the Graduate Teaching Community Blog!

I thought this would be a good place for us to record what we learn, extend our discussion beyond the classroom and share resources and tools that we come across. For instance, we started our meetings last quarter with an exercise on Concept Mapping. I've come across a nice software tool for creating concept maps called VUE: Visual Understanding Environment.

Here's a video introducing it:

(Video continues here.) It goes quite beyond a normal concept map: here's a clever way to use it for making presentations.

Cassandra introduced me to another concept mapping tool called Cmap:

So I hope this becomes a useful part of GTC. Feel free to comment, add posts, and share!