One of the most unique aspects of our program is the fact that no two co-teaching partnerships look alike. Some of our fellows teach in large undergraduate courses; some teach in graduate-level seminars. Some redesign an entire module and take the lead; some prefer a more apprentice-type approach in which they listen & learn and then teach some lessons on their own. Each partnership is designed to benefit the postdoc’s individual teaching interests and draw on their existing strengths.

At my first on-campus interview, the committee actually asked me how much teaching experience I had. Little did they know it was my first time teaching in front of people in the United States, and in English, too! – Ayako (2022-2023 fellow)

Teams work together to design their own co-teaching plans and submit these plans to CIRTL for accountability and record-keeping. They also commit to meeting once a week during the partnership to discuss the course and share feedback with each other, and the teaching mentors agree to write at least one formal observation letter for the postdoc to include in their teaching portfolio.

What Can a Partnership Look Like?

PLP500: Principles of Plant Microbiology

Dr. Betsy Arnold, professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Dr. Morgan Carter, postdoctoral scholar in the School of Plant Sciences, didn’t realize how much their research and teaching interests overlapped until they teamed up to co-teach part of Betsy’s live online graduate course, PLP500: Principles of Plant Microbiology in Spring 2021. Because Betsy had been teaching the course for a while, she was excited to have Morgan design and teach a mid-semester project in which students had to “think like researchers” to investigate a microbe and present it to the class. During the course, they also collaborated on lectures, discussions, learning outcomes, new exam questions, and observed each other’s teaching. They designed their partnership so that Morgan could achieve her goal of learning how to design projects at the graduate level and Betsy could learn more about her own strengths and how to reimagine the course for the future.

Check out the full module Morgan developed and click below to hear more from Morgan about her experience in the program!

ECE175: Computer Programming for Engineering Applications

When Dr. Liang Zhang, a postdoctoral scholar in Information Sciences from China, approached Dr. Loukas Lazos, professor in the College of Engineering, with the idea of co-teaching part of ECE175: Computer Programming for Engineering Applications, he could hardly wait to get back into the classroom. Although Liang had teaching experience in China, he was eager to spend time in the American classroom and put into practice some of the active learning techniques he had learned about in the CIRTL MOOC he’d taken last fall. With Loukas’ guidance, he prepared a module on collaborative coding for Loukas’ large (200+ student) undergraduate course on coding for engineers using Replit, a program he calls “the Google Docs of coding.” They designed their partnership so that Liang could better understand the needs of American students and so Loukas could better understand the course from a cross-disciplinary perspective.

See a sample lesson plan and activity from the module and click on the video below to hear more about Liang's experience in the program.