Penn State Course in College Teaching

An Annual Spring Offering at Penn State Harrisburg

Details for the Spring 2014 Penn State Course in College Teaching

Facilitator: Carol A. McQuiggan, D.Ed., Senior Instructional Designer, Faculty Center for Teaching & Instructional Technology, W203 Olmsted Building
Phone: 717-948-6542
Course Dates:
Thursday, January 30, 2014, 12:30-2:30pm, E264 Olmsted
January 31-February 6, 2014 – online
February 7-February 13, 2014 – online
Thursday, February 20, 2014, 12:30-2:30pm, E264 Olmsted
February 21-February 27, 2014 – online
Thursday, March 6, 2014, 12:30-2:30pm, E264 Olmsted
To register: Please contact Betsy Partlett, or 717-948-4309


The Penn State Course in College Teaching is a free, non-credit course offered approximately once per academic year at Penn State Harrisburg, and is open to anyone who teaches at Penn State, from teaching assistants (TAs) to senior faculty. This 6-week hybrid course is designed to explore successful teaching and learning as a collaborate group through discussion and practice sessions based on information drawn from the teaching and learning literature, as well as from the experiences of each participant. The course materials and discussions provide you with practical and innovative ways to design and implement new and reflective instructional activities to improve your teaching effectiveness and help you respond to the various learning needs of your students.

Intended Audience

The course is designed for Penn State faculty of any rank or status, and TAs who are currently teaching or who have recently taught and expect to do so again within the next semester or two. The course is not designed to meet the needs of first-time teachers. If you have questions about the course fit, please contact me as soon as possible.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • apply effective principles of course design and planning
  • integrate teaching and assessment strategies to enhance student learning
  • reflect on personal beliefs and practices about teaching and learning
  • locate resources on teaching and learning available at Penn State

Course Format

A structured, but flexible atmosphere is provided for the open exchange of ideas on important issues related to teaching and learning. The instructional methods include discussion and group activities. Both face-to-face and online sessions are designed to provide you with opportunities to discuss teaching experiences and strategies with colleagues.


Since the primary goals of this course are self-reflection and practical application, the course assignments are designed to provide participants with the opportunity to do both. Many of the activities and projects in this course have been designed to help you document your teaching so that by the end of the course you will have a good start on additions to your teaching portfolio. The assignments fall into the two categories of weekly assignments and certificate assignments. For all assignments that involve a product, participants will have an opportunity to receive peer feedback either on ANGEL and/or at the beginning of a face-to-face class session.

Weekly Assignments: Readings, questions, discussions, and activities (both face-to-face and online) assigned to each weekly session will help you reflect on the issues and articulate your ideas.

Certificate Assignments: Detailed instructions for these are provided in the weekly folders within the course in ANGEL. In order to earn the Certificate, participants need to complete the following four assignments. More details are provided during the course.

  1. Revise a syllabus from your discipline and explain why you made the changes
  2. Design and analysis of a learning activity
  3. Design and analysis of a mid-semester feedback
  4. Write a statement of your teaching philosophy

Course Certificate

The Faculty Center for Teaching & Instructional Technology awards a certificate to participants who :

  • attend at least two of the three face-to-face meetings,
  • complete all online activities, and
  • successfully complete the three certificate assignments listed above.

While this course does not serve as a formal “certification” process, it does provide you with documentation of your participation in this course. This certificate may be included in your teaching portfolio as evidence of your professional development as an instructor. Certificates acknowledging participation, rather than completion, will also be provided to those who do not complete all certificate assignments, but do actively participate in the online activities and attend at least two of the three face-to-face meetings.

Required Readings

Required readings include one textbook, listed below, that should be purchased prior to the first class meeting, as well as some brief articles or excerpts from other materials that are provided within the course’s ANGEL space. You should be able to find the textbook online for under $35.00.

Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C., and Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Learning. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco. ISBN #0470484101.

Graduate Student Instructors

Completion of the Course in College Teaching satisfies one requirement of the Graduate School Teaching Certificate


This publication is available in alternative media on request.

Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Betsy Parlett, or 717-948-4309, in advance of your participation or visit.

Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.

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