Advanced Topics in Teaching

Advanced Topics in Teaching (ATT) workshops are interdisciplinary opportunities for graduate students looking to acquire new pedagogical frameworks and to innovate their teaching. Topics will vary from semester to semester and cover a range of approaches and theories about teaching and learning.

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Advanced Topics in Teaching

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Current Semester

Spring 2020

Introduction to Research Mentorship

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 2:40 PM – 3:55 PM  

The first few meetings with a research mentee are an important time to share expectations and align goals. In this session, for graduate students who are or will mentor other researchers, we will consider parallels to other forms of instruction, and develop structures that help set the terms of a successful research mentorship. By the end of the session, you will come away with a specific approach for having these necessary conversations with your research mentee, through the structure of a mentor-mentee contract. This approach will be develop during the session through discussions with participants on how to handle difficult situations and how these cases inform on which expectations are important for us, as research mentors, to align with our mentee. This session will be facilitated by Chris Chen, Senior Assistant Director at the CTL.

Learning by Observing: The Art of an Effective Teaching Observation

Friday, February 14, 2020, 12:10 PM – 1:25 PM  
This session counts as a pedagogy workshop for the Teaching Development Program (TDP)

Observing faculty or peers teaching can be a powerful way to expand your awareness of teaching techniques, train your attention on student learning, and generate reflection about your own instructional approaches. But how can you ensure that an observation leads to all these benefits? This workshop will provide participants with a model for conducting observations of teaching that focuses on instructional intention, student engagement, and insights about the observer’s own teaching development. While the session will be immediately useful to participants completing the Advanced Track of CTL’s Teaching Development Program (see, it is open to all interested graduate students and postdocs. This session will be facilitated by Zachary Domach, 2019-20 Senior Teaching Consultant at the CTL. Lunch will be available to all registered participants.

Case-based Instruction in Science and Engineering

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 12:10 PM – 1:40 PM
This session counts as a pedagogy workshop for the Teaching Development Program (TDP)


Past Programs

Fall 2019

Designing and Using Effective Rubrics

Tuesday, October 8, 2019 10:10 AM – 11:40 AM
This session counts as a pedagogy workshop for the Teaching Development Program (TDP)

Considering ways to make your assessments more equitable and streamline the grading process? This session will introduce rubrics as a tool for equitable and efficient assessment. Participants will learn to apply an inclusive teaching lens to assessment design and feedback delivery through the development of rubrics. Participants will explore three types of rubrics and try their hand at developing an inclusive rubric for assessing student participation—an area often assessed, but at risk of being inconsistent or following opaque criteria. This workshop is facilitated by Ian Althouse, Center for Teaching and Learning. By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: – Apply an inclusive teaching lens to assessment design and feedback delivery – Define characteristics and qualities of inclusive and effective rubrics – Distinguish the uses of three types of rubrics – Develop an inclusive rubric and consider how to mobilize it effectively

Hacking Common Classroom Environments and Challenges

Thursday, October 24, 2019 12:10 PM – 1:25 PM
This session counts as a pedagogy workshop for the Teaching Development Program (TDP)

Though the quality and suitability of the spaces in which we are assigned to teach can feel beyond our control, even the most limiting classrooms can be re-imagined and re-purposed through a range of creative “hacks”–low-or no-cost spatial, pedagogical, and/or reflective interventions–that foster a positive classroom climate and support active learning. This session will begin with a brief overview of the behavioral and symbolic implications of common classroom configurations at Columbia. From there, participants will learn about three types of “hacks” and then will be presented with case studies representing common classroom challenges (e.g., immovable furniture, insufficient resources, undesirable ambient conditions) culled from examples given by graduate students instructors. By the end of the session, participants will walk away with a robust toolkit of strategies to employ in a range of classroom and other campus environments. 

How Can Technology Impact Learning?

Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:10 PM – 1:25 PM
This session counts as a pedagogy workshop for the Teaching Development Program (TDP)

Technology has become a ubiquitous component of the higher education landscape, but there are still vocal debates about when we should use technology and why. So how can technology impact learning? During this Advanced Topics in Teaching session we will engage some of the literature examining technology’s role in supporting students’ learning and consider how technology can support and impede our desires to develop accessible learning experiences for our students. Participants will leave with considerations for choosing digital tools and engaging them intentionally and accessibly. 

Fall 2018

Illuminating Learning Processes

Helping your students consider and adapt their learning processes is an essential part of helping them build expertise. However, many of these metacognitive skills can be difficult for instructors, as experts, to illuminate for novices. In this workshop, we define some key terms and strategies in metacognition that you may want to develop with your students. We will then discuss specific approaches – such as process worksheets and assignment wrappers – that you can use to help scaffold these learning processes for your students and help develop important metacognitive abilities while learning discipline-specific skills. Moderate level session; comfort with learning objectives and active learning approaches recommended.  

Teaching through Discussion

Instructors often rely on discussions to gauge students’ understanding, curiosities, and challenges in the classroom. Whether it’s by asking students to synthesize conceptual knowledge, providing them with an opportunity to practice making arguments, or probing them for where they are in their learning, instructors use discussions to serve a variety of pedagogical needs. This workshop will explore how to teach through discussion by focusing on the following questions: How can we prioritize goals for a discussion? How can we make our expectations transparent to students and prepare them for discussion? And how can we assess whether or not our goals for discussion were met?  

Spring 2018 Workshops

Syllabus from Scratch

Drafting a syllabus for the first time? This two-part series will introduce you to the key elements of an effective syllabus and help you define learning goals and assessment methods that will promote student learning in your course. You will have the opportunity to get feedback from CTL staff and peers on a draft of your syllabus and take away tools for continued revision and development of your syllabus. Check for upcoming workshops.

Visual Thinking Strategies: Teaching With Objects

In our classrooms, we often strive to engage students with objects, artworks, manuscripts, or visualized data analyses. Introducing students to these primary sources, however, demands that students practice strategies for careful visual analysis. Register here.

Presenting Your Expertise

Whether you are interviewing for an academic job or giving a talk at a conference, being able to present your teaching and research with clarity and conviction is an essential skill. This session connects you to the elements of effective public speaking and presentation visuals. Learn strategies for preparing a presentation and practice your “elevator pitch” as a way to gain confidence in your presentation style beyond this workshop. Register here.


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