CTL Mini-Courses in College Teaching

CTL offers a range of short courses designed for graduate students and post-docs.  These courses count toward the CTL certificate's workshop requirements and focus on preparing graduate students as future faculty.


This four-meeting mini course is designed to give graduate students and post-docs an introduction to research applicable to student learning which may be translated into concrete teaching strategies across the disciplines. Readings for each session will be drawn from recent works such as Susan Ambrose et al., How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching (2010), James Lang Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning (2016) and Sarah Rose Cavanagh’s The Spark of Learning (2016), as well as journal articles from participants’ disciplines. We will determine the readings in light of the group’s particular interests.

CTL will offer one section in the Spring of 2019.

To register or for more information contact Ian Petrie.


Educators are responsible for creating classes in which all students – regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, or other identities – feel welcome and capable of succeeding. In this working group, participants will uncover a variety of approaches to help all students learn and thrive to the best of their abilities. Over four weekly meetings, participants will complete a series of readings, engage in discussion on inclusive teaching and identify skills and practices to implement in their classes to make these more inclusive and equitable. Participants will also workshop academic job market materials so that these convey a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Open to Penn doctoral and terminal master’s students and postdocs and focused on those who will be teaching undergraduates at Penn or other institutions. Attendance counts as two workshops towards the CTL Teaching Certificate.

CTL will offer a session of this program in the Spring of 2019.  Sign up via this form.

For more information contact ctl-help@lists.upenn.edu.


The Course in College Teaching is a ten-session seminar intended to prepare postdoctoral fellows and graduate students nearing the job market to teach college courses and to help them develop as instructors. The course will provide a structured series of workshops and discussions to help PhD students or postdoctoral fellows with little or no teaching experience. (Note: except in fields like design where a masters is a terminal degree, the Course in College Teaching is not appropriate for masters students.) Each session will use practical, hands-on activities to help students reflect on their own teaching goals and style. Students who complete the course will consider concrete ways of organizing, preparing for and teaching a course. Students will also create a portfolio of teaching materials – from sample assignments to in-class activities to syllabi – that they can use on the job market and to prepare them for their future as teachers.

CTL offers the Course in College Teaching at least once a year.  There will be a session running this fall on Wednesdays from 3-5 starting September 26, 2018.   

For more information contact caturner@upenn.edu.


When implemented effectively, active learning techniques have been shown to improve learning outcomes. This four week mini-course is designed to help participants explore active learning and consider how to effectively implement these techniques in various classroom settings. This course is intended for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows interested in utilizing these techniques in recitations or their own courses, now or in the future.

CTL offers Active Learning in STEM Courses every summer.  

For more information contact Julie McGurk.

Here is the syllabus for the course:




This four-meeting mini course is designed to introduce graduate students to online teaching, considering how to teach a fully online course that is both engaging for students and meets rigorous standards.   Students will get experience working with the Canvas platform and think creatively about how to use Canvas and a wide range of other online tools.  Alonside this technical experience, students will consider key pedagogical questions for teaching online such as keeping students motivated and  creating a sense of community.  The sessions will help graduate students prepare not only for online and technology-enhanced teaching at Penn, but also in their future careers as faculty in an increasingly digital academy.

The online teaching course will meet in the fall of 2018 on Thursdays starting with a face to face meeting at CTL on October 26 from 4:00-6:00.

Here is a copy of the syllabus for 2017. 

 For more information contact Cathy Turner.



If you’re designing a course to propose here at Penn (or another institution), or for a job market sample and you’d like some structure, camaraderie, and feedback to keep you on track, consider signing up for CTL’s Course Development Seminar. As a group, we will work on articulating course objectives, identifying content/readings, designing assignments/assessments and crafting course policies. After the first meeting, each session will require all participants to submit an element of their course.

For more information contact Ian Petrie.


This mini course will introduce graduate students to a range of tools that they might use for teaching and provide a test kitchen where they can try tools, design assignments and lessons, and get and give feedback on their teaching ideas. The seminar is geared both toward students who are novices in digital environments and students with a good bit of experience in the hopes that instructors with a range of different experiences can help each other develop effective ideas for incorporating digital tools into their classes. By the end of the four-week session, students will have some familiarity with a range of digital tools and have designed a complete assignment that they might use in a class.

For more information contact Cathy Turner