Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral Professional Development Series:  Fundamentals of Classroom Teaching
This interactive program will introduce Engineering postdocs to strategies for productively structuring and thinking about class time and student assessment. It will address many of the major challenges commonly faced by instructors as they begin teaching.

Julie McGurk (, Center for Teaching and Learning

Participants are asked to commit to all three sessions, as each session builds off the prior discussions. 


OCTOBER 15 (4:00 - 6:00 PM)
Session I: Teaching for Conceptual Understanding.
Enabling students to think conceptually is a powerful means of improving their comprehension of course materials. But many students attempt to learn course materials through memorization. In this session, we will consider how we can frame and organize content to guide the students to a more conceptual understanding. We will discuss strategies – from how we structure a lecture, to the motivation we provide students, to our choices of presentation media – that can influence how students approach, study and learn the material. We will also consider how to apply these strategies using a sample concept.

OCTOBER 29 (4:00 - 6:00 PM)
Session II: Teaching Students to Think Like an Engineer.
Teaching students to think like an engineer is an important goal for most teaching at all levels in engineering schools. Here, we will examine what that means and how to teach it.  We will explore ways to teach students to apply their conceptual understandings to problem-solving and fundamental disciplinary skills.  In the process, we will consider strategies to get students thinking and interacting with materials and each other. In preparation for this session, participants will be asked to observe a class.

NOVEMBER 12 (4:00 - 6:00 PM)
Session III: Aligning our Goals and Assessment.
In designing a course, knowing what we want our students to learn from it can be a vital first step. In this culminating discussion, we will think about that beginning by considering our ends. Participants will come to this session with a rough outline of assessments to include in a course, including what students will be asked to do and when students would be asked to do them. We will use these outlines to think about the benefits and drawbacks of different types of assessment, as well as determine how we can integrate skills that are needed to successfully complete these assessments into our courses.

If you have questions, contact Jim McGonigle. To RSVP, please fill out the event registration form >>