Teaching is a complex professional skill. All educators can learn to teach better through exposure to, and discussion of, new or challenging ideas, practice with instructional skills, and access to supportive networks. In developing your teaching, you not only build your own skill and confidence, but you also enable better student learning.
The MacPherson Institute offers the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion program for to all educators at McMaster, including faculty, sessional instructors, graduate students, staff and post-doctoral fellows.
There are two Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion available: (1) Theory and Inquiry and (2) Practice and Application.
Completing the Certificates of Completion will provide you with scholarly vocabulary to describe different pedagogical approaches, confidence in engaging with a range of pedagogical theories, and practice and guidance in the preparation of common teaching documents (e.g., teaching portfolio, teaching philosophy, course outlines, and lesson plans).
Participating in the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion will also connect you with a network of interdisciplinary peers who are interested in teaching and learning. Peers that you meet through these courses often become sources of support and encouragement for teaching-related questions and challenges. Likewise, engagement in these Certificates of Completion connects you with the educational developer staff at the MacPherson Institute and the extensive supports and resources provided by this team.
Registration for the spring 2023 term will open April 3rd at 8:30am
- Graduate students can register for the courses through Mosaic.
- Postdoctoral fellows, faculty and staff can register by emailing Emily Hynes (firstname.lastname@example.org) and requesting that their name be added to a class list.
- Registration is first come, first served. Space is limited and fills quickly.
The new Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion program offers two opportunities to earn a certificate.
Theory and Inquiry Certificate of Completion
The goals of the Theory and Inquiry Certificate of Completion are to introduce educators to a range of teaching and learning topics across the areas of instructional skills, digital pedagogies and research on teaching and learning, and to support educators in deepening their knowledge in these areas.
Practice and Application Certificate of Completion
The Practice and Application Certificate of Completion offers a self-directed opportunity to apply teaching and learning knowledge and skills in relevant, real-world settings.
The Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion are comprised of zero-unit* graduate level courses approved through the School of Graduate Studies and are operated through the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
*All of the courses are zero-unit with the exception of EDUCATN 750/751, which can be a 3- unit course. Graduate students should ask their department/school whether they have permission to take the 3-unit version of the course (i.e., EDUCATN 750), and if so, whether the course will count towards their degree requirements.
Certificate of Completion Requirements
The Theory and Inquiry Certificate of Completion requires the completion of two courses:
- EDUCATN 640; and
- one of EDUCATN 740, EDUCATN 750/751, EDUCATN 760 or EDUCATN 770.
These combinations result in four possible pathways to complete the Theory and Inquiry Certificate of Completion:
- Experimentation Path: EDUCATN 640 + EDUCATN 740 OR
- Theory Path: EDUCATN 640 + EDUCATN 750/751 OR
- Scholarly Teaching Path: EDUCATN 640 +EDUCATN 760 OR
- Digital Pedagogy Path: EDUCATN 640 + EDUCATN 770
The Practice and Application Certificate of Completion requires the completion of one course: EDUCATN 780.
The courses and certificates may be taken in any order and there are no pre-requisites. Courses may also be taken as stand-alone offerings.
The Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion are open to all educators at McMaster and a selection of EDUCATN courses are offered each semester, with EDUCATN 640 offered every semester, and each course offered at least once per year.
Graduate student educators enrol in the specific courses that comprise the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion through Mosaic.
All other educators (e.g. faculty, staff, post-doctoral fellows, teaching assistants) enroll by emailing Emily Hynes (email@example.com).
On completion of required courses, a Certificate of Completion will automatically be issued by the MacPherson Institute. Please allow a few weeks for processing of certificates.
EDUCATN 640: Essential Skills in University Teaching
Format & Term Offered: Virtual (Fall, Winter, Spring)
Educators select and complete six asynchronous online workshops from a list approved by the Paul R. MacPherson Institute on Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching. The workshops are focused on foundational knowledge in teaching and learning in higher education including in areas of equity, accessibility, scholarly teaching, digital pedagogies and professional skills. Educators are responsible for producing a series of reflections.
EDUCATN 740: Peer-evaluated Teaching Experience
Format & Term Offered: In-Person (Fall), Virtual (Spring)
This zero-unit graduate course is offered in a small group setting and is designed to enhance teaching effectiveness. During the course (full attendance is mandatory to earn a pass), students design and conduct short lessons and receive verbal, written, and video feedback from the other students who have been learners in the lessons. Using an intensive experiential learning approach, students are provided with information on the theory and practice of teaching adult learners, the selection and writing of useful intended learning outcomes with accompanying lesson plans, techniques for eliciting learner participation, and suggestions for evaluation of learning. Reflection and examination of one’s teaching practices are encouraged.
EDUCATN 750/751: Principles and Practices of University Teaching
Format & Term Offered: In-Person (Winter), Virtual (Spring)
This course can be taken as a three-unit (EDUCATN 750) or zero-unit (EDUCATN 751) graduate level course and is designed to hone essential pedagogical and practical teaching skills. This course offers an intensive exploration of the theoretical background of curriculum design, teaching strategies, assessment strategies, and developing a teaching portfolio.
EDUCATN 760: Self-Directed Study
Format & Term Offered: Virtual (Fall, Winter)
This zero-unit graduate course is designed to develop skills in research on teaching and learning. The course offers self-directed study on a higher education topic of choice from one of three streams: a research project, developing a workshop, or developing an online learning module. The project receives peer and instructors’ feedback, and the project requires a plan for dissemination.
EDUCATN 770: Digital Literacies for Teaching and Learning
Format & Term Offered: Blended (Fall), Virtual (Winter)
A project-based course for educators in which they explore topics related to teaching and learning in the digital environment, such as digital pedagogy, virtual collaboration, professional learning networks, digital identity, privacy, web accessibility and more. Learners will create digital media artefacts speaking to digital fluency themes and learn basic skills in web design. Throughout the course, learners will create a web-based portfolio of work as shareable evidence of their learning.
EDUCATN 780: Self-Directed Teaching Experience
Format & Term Offered: In-Person (Fall, Winter), Virtual (Spring)
In this zero-unit graduate course, learners will engage in a self-directed teaching experience in order to apply teaching and learning theory in a real-world context*. Critical examination of the colonial origins of the university as it relates to teaching and learning theory and the learning environment is a key component of this course. Learners will develop a teaching application plan, deliver their lesson, and observe a lesson. Learners will reflect on their experience throughout the course and identify further areas for growth and exploration.
*Note: you must be able to identify a teaching opportunity in the term you have registered (e.g., teaching a course, guest lecture, teaching in a volunteer/work setting, etc.) at the beginning of the course. If you have questions about the appropriateness of your teaching opportunity, please email Stephanie Verkoeyen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Certificates of Completion: SPRING Term 2023
The following courses will be offered during the spring 2023 term. While the MacPherson Institute tries to keep schedules the same each term, they are subject to change at the instructor’s discretion. Please refer to the Avenue to Learn course for the most up-to-date schedule for your courses.
|EDUCATN 640||Virtual||Tuesday, May 2 – Tuesday, August 1
The first class (May 2), second class (June 13) and the final class (August 1) will be synchronous meetings from 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM via Zoom.
|Students will be able to complete asynchronous online workshops at any date/time throughout the term.|
|EDUCATN 740||Virtual||Monday, May 1 – Friday, May 5 (asynchronous work, approximately 2-4 hours)
Students must also choose two in-person sessions from the dates below:
|Date selections are subject to change based on availability.|
|EDUCATN 750 / 751||Virtual||Thursdays, May 11 – August 3, from 12:00 – 2:30 PM|
|EDUCATN 760||Not offered in the spring term.|
|EDUCATN 770||Not offered in the spring term.|
|EDUCATN 780||Virtual||This course will largely take place asynchronously with weekly class sessions on the following dates:
Most of the courses that comprise the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion take place in-person at the MacPherson Institute classroom and include some online elements (except EDUCATN 640, which is only offered 100% online.)
Each year we offer one pathway to complete the Theory and Practice certificate fully online. For instance, participants could complete EDUCATN 640 (fully online) and an online version of EDUCATN 740. This fully online pathway will have enrolment caps and cannot be guaranteed.
The following Frequently Asked Questions will provide an overview of questions participants might have about the new Certificates of Completion, the Legacy Certificates of Completion, and the impact these changes might have on their options for completion.
The Theory and Inquiry and Practice and Application Certificates of Completion replace the Legacy Foundations and Scholars Certificates of Completion.
The new Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion offers:
- A broader range of teaching and learning topics, including greater engagement with teaching and learning technologies and digital pedagogies
- Increased opportunities for educators to choose elements that best align with their interests and existing experience
- Reduced waitlists for courses and shortened completion time
In addition to changes to course requirements (see What is Required for Each Certificate), the Theory and Inquiry and Practice and Application Certificates of Completion will be open to all educators, not just graduate students.
Courses no longer have prerequisites and can now be taken in any order or as stand-alone offerings. Likewise, the Certificates of Completion can be completed in any order or as stand-alone offerings.
In addition to retaining some of courses from the old Certificates of Completion (see What is Required for Each Certificate) Theory and Inquiry and Practice and Application remain free for all educators at McMaster.
They continue to be offered through the MacPherson Institute with expert design and facilitation in the courses.
The courses in the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion Program continue to be recognized on transcripts and endorsed by the School of Graduate Studies.
The MacPherson Institute has been gathering feedback on the Legacy Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion over many years, including through the 2018 “Review of the Function of Teaching and Learning,” through a review of supports for the professional development of teaching and ongoing feedback collection from senior academic leaders, educators, and graduate students.
This feedback highlighted the strengths of the Legacy Certificates of Completion, including opportunities for interdisciplinary engagement, practice in the skills of teaching and exposure to a broad range of teaching topics. The reviews and feedback also pointed to challenges with access to courses, bottlenecks in course progression and opportunities for better integration of educational technology and digital pedagogy topics.
The launch of the new Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion program is in response to this feedback with an emphasis on easier access for all educators, integration of a broader range of topics and continued opportunities for practice and interdisciplinary connection.
For the fall 2022 and winter 2023 terms you can choose to complete the Legacy Foundations and Scholars Certificates of Completion or complete the new Theory and Inquiry and Practice and Application Certificates of Completion.
You may not earn both versions of the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion. After winter 2023 the MacPherson Institute will no longer offer the Foundations and Scholars Certificates of Completion.
All courses required to complete Legacy Foundations and Scholars will be offered in fall 2022 and winter 2023 to allow those currently enrolled to complete them.
If you have started the Legacy Foundations or Scholars Certificates of Completion and you would like to switch to the Theory and Inquiry or Practice and Application Certificates of Completion, you may do so beginning in August 2022 by emailing Emily Hynes (email@example.com) and indicating your name, the courses you have already completed and your intentions to switch to the new Certificate of Completion.
Any EDUCATN courses you have already taken toward the Legacy Foundation or Scholars Certificates of Completion continue to count toward these Certificates of Completion. You have fall 2022 and winter 2023 terms to complete any remaining courses if you wish to earn these Legacy Certificates of Completion.
If you prefer to transfer and complete the Theory and Inquiry or Practice and Application Certificates of Completion, the courses you have already completed may count toward these certificates. The course equivalencies are as follows:
|Foundations/Scholars Courses||Theory and Practice Equivalency||Practice and Application Equivalency|
|EDUCATN 600||EDUCATN 640*|
|EDUCATN 650||EDUCATN 740|
|N/A||EDUCATN 770 – NEW|
|N/A||N/A||EDUCATN 780 NEW|
*EDUCATN 640 requires eight reflections rather than the six required in EDUCATN 600. Despite this difference, EDUCATN 640 is still considered an equivalent to EDUCATN 600.
The MacPherson Institute will continue to offer the courses required to complete the Legacy Foundations or Scholars Certificate of Completion in fall 2022 and winter 2023 terms. If you would like to complete the Legacy Foundations or Scholars Certificate of Completion you will need to ensure all required courses are completed by the end of Winter 2023.
No. You may earn the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion once.
- If you have already earned the Legacy Foundations and Scholars Certificates of Completion you may not earn the Theory and Inquiry and Practice and Applications Certificates of Completion.
- If you have only earned the Foundations Certificate of Completion you may earn the Practice and Application Certificate of Completion or earn the Scholars Certificate of Completion before the end of winter term 2023.
- If you are partway through the Foundations Certificate of Completion you may transfer to the Theory and Inquiry Certificate of Completion or complete the Foundations Certificate of Completion before the end of winter term 2023.
- If you are partway through the Scholars Certificate you may transfer to the Practice and Application Certificate of Completion or complete the Scholars Certificate of Completion before the end of winter term 2023.
The new Certificates of Completion and all of the courses included in them are open to all educators at McMaster. Educators may choose to complete one or both Certificates, or may choose to complete select courses.
The Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion are offered free of charge to all McMaster educators as part of the MacPherson Institute’s mission to cultivate an environment where teaching and learning matter across all of McMaster.
In line with McMaster’s policies on Certificates of Completion, the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion require a minimum of 30 contact hours for completion. Each Certificate of Completion is possible to complete in one term. Participants may choose to take all courses for a Certificate of Completion in one term or may choose to take courses spread out over years. There is no time limit on completion of these Teaching and Learning Certificate of Completion.
However, different pathways for completing the Theory and Inquiry Certificate of Completion could require more or less time.
Based on the available pathways, here are some estimates for contact hours for completion (note: contact hours do not account for time spent on preparatory work or assignments):
Experimentation Path: EDUCATN 640 (~15 hours) + EDUCATN 740 (~24 hours) = 39 total hours
Theory Path: EDUCATN 640 (~15 hours) + EDUCATN 750 (~36 hours) = 51 total hours
Scholarly Teaching Path: EDUCATN 640 (~15 hours) + EDUCATN 760 (~30 hours) = 45 total hours
Digital Pedagogy Path: EDUCATN 640 (~15 hours) + EDUCATN 770 (~36 hours) = 51 total hours
The Practice and Application Certificate of Completion is estimated to take 30 hours to complete.
Each of these options are possible to complete in one term.
The Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion are designed with a wide range of experience levels and previous education in mind. All the courses include options for novice educators as well as those with many years of experience and are designed to offer self-directed challenges for educators across this range of experience.
If you are unsure about your qualifications or experience, please reach out to discuss your participation.
Please feel welcome to reach out with any questions you might have about the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion.
For registration/enrolment, scheduling or participation questions, please reach out to Emily Hynes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For questions about the curriculum, modes of engagement, assessments or Certificate of Completion structure, please reach out to Erin Aspenlieder (email@example.com).