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Overview of the Certificate in College Teaching

The Certificate in College Teaching at Michigan State University is an opportunity to develop one's university teaching skills through coursework, workshops, and a mentored teaching project. The final eportfolio consolidates evidence of the above teaching experiences and skill development. Consider using the buttons below to jump across the four elements of the Certificate and their associated core competencies.

Coursework

Part 1: Coursework

Core Competency 1: Developing Discipline-Related Teaching Strategies

In teaching sociology, instructors work to foster C. Wright Mills' concept of the sociological imagination in their students, wherein individuals see and understand the connections between the self and wider social forces. Thus, the core challenge in this endeavor is combatting the United States' culture of individualism and meritocracy. Teaching strategies that are common in sociology courses to enable this practice are crafting social research projects, investigating case studies, and applying sociological theories and concepts to popular culture and media. 

Description

EAD 866: Teaching in Postsecondary Education supports students in becoming more reflective and effective teachers in postsecondary education contexts. Topics addressed in the course include the philosophy of teaching, the learning process and environment, instructional design and planning, active learning strategies, and techniques of assessment. This course was unique in that it offered a global approach to teaching and learning through the incorporation of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) methodology and usage of the Beliefs, Events, and Values Inventory (BEVI) with students at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. This interaction of teachers and students abroad through a mixed learning environment emphasized multicultural online learning and collaboration. COIL, as a learner-centered method, focused on experiential learning and collaborative participation among us, while celebrating cross-cultural engagement and promoting intercultural understanding of different postsecondary teaching contexts.

Artifacts and Rationale

Five artifacts from this course include the syllabus, course schedule, Scholarly Identity Snapshot assignments, and my group's final COIL research paper. The syllabus for the course includes the course's purpose, objectives, structure, and methods of assessment. The course schedule provides a detailed outline of weekly topics, readings, and assignments. The pre- and post-course Scholarly Identity Snapshots offered the opportunity for students to reflect on their pedagogical values and research trajectories. The first short essay was used to create diverse student groups for the COIL projects. The final Scholarly Identity Snapshot captures the ways in which students in the course altered their scholarly identity, beliefs, commitments, or values throughout the semester. Finally, as a result of the course's incorporation of COIL methodology and the BEVI, students in the course completed a research project that included scholarship in teaching and learning from both the United States and Japan. I chose to include these artifacts as they broadly encompass the overall course goal in fostering successful teachers who integrate reflection as part of their teaching practice.

Interpretation and Reflection

I chose to enroll in this course as, beyond time spent in the New Graduate Teaching Assistant Institute each fall, I had no prior formal teaching training. I did have some experience with being an Undergraduate Learning Assistant (ULA) for a few courses at Michigan State University during my undergraduate years though my leadership was limited to weekly course review sessions which regularly saw low attendance from my peers. Most of the time it was up to me to determine effective teaching strategies for Sociology (SOC) and Integrative Social Science (ISS) courses.

The course design of EAD 866: Teaching in Postsecondary Education incorporated a variety of perspectives on teaching adults, which includes emerging adults of the "traditional" college-going age (18-25) and older adults (25+) who may be attending college for the first time or returning to finish a degree. I found the addition of teaching older adults, who tend to juggle more responsibilities outside of courses and be more self-directed in their learning, helpful as I am considering teaching at a community college level in the future. Well known in college access literature is that because community colleges are more affordable and flexible in their course schedules, they tend to serve larger numbers of older adults.

One teaching strategy that EAD 866 focused on was backwards design. Backwards design in postsecondary education is a method of course creation where instructors consider the learning outcomes at the end of the course before choosing content materials and methods of assessment. I found the attention in EAD 866 to the strategy of backwards design particularly useful as it's easy for me to get bogged down with the minute details - which reading will I reference this week? when will the midterm occur? - which can easily distract from focusing on the larger purpose of the course. In sociology 

The Scholarly Identity Snapshots, one completed at the beginning of the course ("Initial") and the other at the end ("Final") allowed me to longitudinally track the change in my beliefs, attitudes, and values around teaching and learning. Quite a bit of my teaching philosophy is drawn from my own sociological imagination that I continue to develop, where that "aha!" moment is priceless. As I wrote in my "Final" Scholarly Identity Snapshot, my foundational beliefs continue to ring true, while the practical teaching skills are much more refined thanks to the time spent in EAD 866. 

A unique element of EAD 866 was the inclusion of COIL, where groups of MSU and ICU students in the course worked together on a research-teaching project. My group's project linked participation methods to learner-centered teaching (LCT) and culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP). Additionally, our project includes the technology acceptance model (TAM) to suggest that technology can facilitate participation to achieve better learning outcomes during emergency remote teaching as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic during Fall 2020. While the COVID-19 pandemic has eased up when it comes to its effects on postsecondary teaching, the lessons learned regarding the incorporation of active learning and participation methods  in my teaching methods has remained. 

Part 2: Foundations for Professional Development

Core Competency 2: Creating Effective Learning Environments

Description

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Artifacts and Rationale

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Interpretation and Reflection

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Core Competency 3: Incorporating Technology in your Teaching

Description

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Artifacts and Rationale

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Interpretation and Reflection

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Core Competency 4: Understanding the University Context

Description

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Artifacts and Rationale

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Interpretation and Reflection

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Part 3: Mentored Teaching Project

Core Competency 5: Assessing Student Learning

Description and Assessment

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Data and Findings

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Part 4: Teaching Philosophy

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