2-Minute Mentor: Teaching Graduate Seminars
Teaching graduate seminars
- How can I increase my confidence when I’m teaching advanced students?
- How do I balance my experience and knowledge?
- What course objectives should I focus on in graduate seminars?
Click below to watch CTE’s 2-Minute Mentor video on this topic:
Teaching Graduate Seminars video transcript (doc)
Strategies for teaching the key ideas of a discipline in small groups
When a class is small and the students are advanced in the content of a discipline, there are several broad approaches to designing class activities that can make use of the group and the collective experience and knowledge of the teacher and students.
Teach your students about the types of questions normally asked in your discipline.
A student or the whole group presents a thesis statement or a position.
Self-reflection tasks ask students to examine their own thought processes as they identify interesting questions and develop guesses as to the answers.
More about teaching graduate students
The following links provide more information about approaches to teaching graduate seminars:
- This 2-Minute Mentor segment focuses on ways to engage all students and motivate them to come prepared to participate and think.
- This portfolio from the CTE Gallery describes designing a course around discussion of discipline-specific problem-solving approaches: From Recitation to Group Dynamics: Transforming a Civil Engineering Course—Caroline Bennett.
- In this portfolio from the CTE Gallery, a mechanical engineering professor uses language and decision-making tools to help students learn to discuss controversial topics and to use logical structures for ethical analyses: Integrating Ethics into Graduate and Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering Courses—Lisa Friis.
Additional materials are available in CTE’s Essential Guide to Teaching.
Some useful articles on the teaching of graduate seminars:
- The September 2010 issue of Teaching Matters (pdf) explores the connection between “signature pedagogies” and engaged learning.
- The April 2005 issue of Teaching Matters (pdf) focuses on the value and power of using discussion among students to recognize the tacit dimensions of professional knowledge and to integrate the specialized language so common in specialized fields.
- These authors (pdf) suggest that a graduate seminar can be structured as a mini-research conference: Sivilotti, P.A and Weide, B.W., “Research, Teaching, and Service: The Miniconference as a Model for CS Graduate Seminar Courses,” Proceedings of SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, 2004, pp. 487- 491.