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Starting June 27, free summer course will build STEM teaching skills

June 20, 2019 By Sarah Silverman

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Delta Program is offering an in-person learning community paired with an eight-week summer online course to advance the teaching skills of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who plan to teach as a part of their careers

The course will meet for one hour a week starting Thursday, June 27, and registration is open until then. Participants interested in the Delta offering will also need to register for the online course, offered by CIRTL, the Center for the Integration of Research and Teaching.

“Participants will have the chance to view the online content when it is convenient for them, and then connect weekly to ask questions, and apply ideas to their own classrooms,” explains course facilitator Sarah Silverman.

“An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching” is a MOOC (massive, open online course) that is open to any current or future educators affiliated with UW–Madison. Participants will gain foundational teaching skills to become more effective and confident educators.

“Future STEM faculty aren’t always provided with training for their roles as teachers. Participants in the course will learn evidence-based effective teaching strategies, course planning and design, and techniques for creating inclusive learning environments,” says Wisconsin Center for Education Research Director Robert Mathieu, an astronomy professor who also directs CIRTL.

“The online course covers the foundations of STEM teaching, which are also the foundations of effective teaching in general: Learning outcomes, assessment, active learning, and inclusive teaching,” Silverman explains. “This provides essential professional development for anyone whose future career includes teaching.”

In the learning community, participants will draw on their experiences from a variety of disciplines to apply the course ideas and tackle common teaching challenges. While learning new approaches to teaching is the ultimate goal of the courses, the development of a network of peers is another key benefit. Bringing together a diverse set of disciplines is one of the reasons that Silverman is looking forward to the course.

“I am excited to facilitate this learning community because it will bring together STEM grad students and postdocs from a variety of disciplines to discuss teaching,” she says. “Learning from colleagues is a key component of becoming an effective teacher, and this is a unique opportunity to learn from and with individuals from other fields and discuss how evidence-based teaching practices can be applied across disciplines.”

The learning community will run from June 27 to August 22, meeting Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. at 445 Henry Mall, Room 302. Those interested in hearing more about the learning community can contact Sarah Silverman at

Tags: education, STEM