Mini Courses

These three courses are designed for graduate students, and those at McMaster interested in developing their teaching skills. Each course consists of six three-hour workshops.

Leading Effective Discussions

This course is based on developing the following skills:

a) communicating in groups
b) leading a group
c) decision-making and resolving conflict
d) asking and answering questions

These skills are particularly useful in helping to make small working groups effective. Past participants have noted that the skills are easily applied to many situations (e.g. tutorials, thesis defense, and work situations). The course is based upon activities in a small group (maximum 8) rather than lectures so that participants have repeated opportunities to practice. The activities are practical and closely linked to common situations that occur in groups, such as silence (the "dead" group), the presence of a "difficult" individual, and issues of control in the group.

Making Presentations: Lecturing

This mini-course offers an introduction to the basic skills involved in the preparation and presentation of a lecture. The course consists of six three-hour workshops and an opportunity to apply some of the skills by means of a brief mini-lecture. Participants will also be asked to negotiate an opportunity to present a series of two or three lectures in a course currently offered in the participant's own department. Course meetings will have two components: 1) the generation of an answer to the question, "What makes for an effective lecture?" and, 2) practice in the basic skills of lecturing.

Designing Instruction

This mini-course introduces various elements involved in teaching a course with a particular emphasis on the introduction of a variety of teaching methods. If you know you will be teaching a course in the near future, this course will help you prepare. Topics to be addressed include:

  • Designing a course
  • Planning a class
  • Engaging students in their learning
  • Effects of various teaching methods
  • Assignments and assessments to help students learn.

This course will provide opportunities to try a variety of teaching methods, to plan an instructional session and to receive feedback on the session.

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