Post-Secondary Teaching

Why coursework in Post-Secondary Teaching?

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Professors in all programs are teachers, yet few receive any preparation to become effective teachers. Over the past few decades the interdisciplinary research in the Science of Learning has amplified our understanding of teaching and learning. “Research about learning has yielded useful insights about teaching that graduate students need to know. Much has now been discovered about cognition, motivation, and the relative effectiveness of different methods of instruction,” (Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University in Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 11, 2013). He argues there is a skills/strategies gap in conventional doctoral preparation that universities must address: “We must prepare Ph.D. students for the complex art of teaching.”

The Department of Learning and Instruction at the UB Graduate School of Education has developed coursework in Post-Secondary Teaching that is appropriate for anyone who plans to teach or is teaching in post-secondary education. The course of study consists of 4 courses in total with a Teaching Practicum as capstone (2 credits) for a total of 14 credit hours. After successful completion of these courses, you will receive a certificate of completion from the Department of Learning and Instruction.

Courses focus on four areas: effective instruction, assessment/evaluation, technology integration and learning tools. Available coursework also includes a teaching practicum that allows for analysis and reflection on successful teaching in the classroom.

The Effective Instruction course is the preferred first course in the sequence: Students can begin with LAI 693 Teaching College Students or LAI 698 Instructional Strategies for College Students.

Overview of Courses

Students have the option of choosing one course from each of the following topics:

EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION COURSE - CHOOSE ONE

  • LAI 693: Teaching College Students
  • LAI 698: Instructional Strategies for College Students

EVALUATION/ASSESSMENT COURSE - CHOOSE ONE

  • LAI 547: Assessment of Student Performance & Understanding
  • LAI 654: Measurement & Evaluation of Learning

TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION COURSE - CHOOSE ONE

  • LAI 678: Digital Media in Education
  • LAI 525: Science and Technology

LEARNING TOOLS - CHOOSE ONE

  • LAI 514: Improving Content-area Writing in College
  • LAI 545: Teaching Problem Solving & Posing in the UG Classroom

TEACHING PRACTICUM - CAPSTONE

  • LAI 695: Practicum in Teaching

*Video representations of each student’s teaching will be a major means of analysis and reflection on teaching. It will thereby be possible to take the Practicum online.

Course Descriptions

LAI 514: Improving Content Area Writing in College
This course begins with an overview of theory and research in cognitive strategies and sociocognitive views of reading, writing, speaking and listening processes. It then describes an approach to the teaching of reading and writing called strategic literacy instruction. The focus throughout is on discovering ways to help struggling readers and writers.

LAI 532: Technology and Science
This course provides a hands-on approach to using technology in teaching science. An emphasis is placed on labs, demonstrations, field trips, and simulations. Technology includes computer programs and simulations, the Internet, probes, and calculators, etc.

LAI 545: Teaching Problem Posing & Problem Solving in the Classroom

To solve problems, we must first understand them, using our conceptual categories and creating appropriate problem representations. Then, we choose the appropriate general strategies, followed by suitable tactics. If these are not sufficient, we use more creative approaches. To monitor and evaluate our progress, we use our individual and group metacognition. Lastly, we examine how specific strategies develop over time and how general problem solving abilities develop across the years.

LAI 547: Assessment of Student Performance & Understanding
Evaluating students (assessment) has several benefits: identifying student achievement (summative), informing future teaching (formative) and modeling good content and educational practices. We will examine several forms of assessment: tasks, whole class interactions, tests, group work, student self-assessment, and alternative assessments. Tasks include warm-up problems to activate related ideas for learning, in-class problems to develop student knowledge, and homework to consolidate their understanding. Whole class interactions provide immediate ways to assess students’ thinking processes as they express themselves through question-answer dialogues, presentations and class discussions. Meanwhile, traditional quizzes and exams provide general, more consistent means to assess all students’ understanding. Group assessments evaluate student collaborations as they solve more complex tasks to yield formative assessment of students’ immediate learning capacities. In addition to assessing classmates during group assessments, students learn to gauge their understanding through self-assessments. Meanwhile, alternative assessments (writing, projects, and portfolios) yield complementary information about students’ abilities. Lastly, we examine statistical validity and bias in greater detail and apply them to standardized tests that influence educational policy and classroom teaching. This course aims to provides students with ways to assess students to help them learn more.

LAI 654: Measurement and Evaluation of Learning

This course provides an overview of basic principles of measurement and evaluation related to learning. Emphasis will be on assessment of student learning outcomes. Students will develop an understanding of such key concepts as validity, reliability and absence of bias in measurement; students will also develop competence in the following areas of measurement and evaluation related to learning:

  1. Choosing assessment methods appropriate for instructional decisions;
  2. Developing assessment methods appropriate for instructional decisions;
  3. Administering, scoring, and interpreting the results of both externally produced and teacher-produced assessment methods;
  4. Using assessment results when making decisions about individual students, planning teaching, developing curriculum, and school improvement;
  5. Developing valid grading procedures that use student assessments;
  6. Communicating assessment results to students, parents, other lay audiences, and other educators.

LAI 678: Digital Media in Education
This course will help educators use a variety of digital media tools for designing, implementing, and assessing effective learning environments. The purpose of this course is to assist teachers at all levels in their understanding of differences in instruction in the nature and function of multimedia authoring tools meant to engage students in the process of co-constructing knowledge. Authoring and editing skills as well as some programming and design principles will be discussed and practiced through hands-on experiences to develop proficiency with the tools and skills needed for authoring and publishing digital media in a variety of formats.

LAI 693: Teaching College Students
This course focuses on how college students learn best and what the best college teachers do to support learning across the curriculum. Essential issues include engagement and motivation, learning goals and strategies, creating learning-centered environments, understanding learning processes, integrating technologies, designing active learning tasks, integrating learning activities and authentic assessments. This teaching practice course is grounded in the most recent theory and research.

LAI 695: Practicum in University Teaching
Video representations of each student’s teaching will be a major means of analysis and reflection on teaching. It will thereby be possible to take the Practicum online.

LAI 698: Instructional Strategies for Teaching College Students

Learn contemporary teaching practices and instructional strategies, including those that support constructivist approaches to student learning and assessment. The instructional practices are theoretically and empirically grounded. Special modules include teaching culturally diverse students and integration of digital technology as a learning tool. This course introduces students to current professional instructional practices and assists students in interpreting them within their areas of teaching.

How Do I Apply?

To apply for the Post-Secondary teaching program, visit our application page.

Contact Information

For questions regarding post-secondary teaching courses, contact:
Department of Learning and Instruction
Graduate School of Education
University at Buffalo
505 Baldy Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1000
Telephone: (716) 645-2455
Email: gsedl@buffalo.edu