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 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, sessional instructors, McMaster Continuing Education instructors, faculty and staff.
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 Educational Developers at the MacPherson Institute and the extensive supports and resources they provide.
Winter 2024 term registration will open December 1st at 8:30am.
Summer 2024 term registration will open April 1st at 8:30am.
The Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion program offers two opportunities to earn a certificate of completion.
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.
The Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion are comprised of zero-unit* graduate level courses approved through the School of Graduate Studies and offered through the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching.
*All of the courses are zero-unit with the exception of EDUCATN 750/751, which can be as a three-unit course (via the EDUCATN 750 course code) or a zero-unit course (via the EDUCATN 751 course code). Graduate students should ask their department/school whether they have permission to take the three-unit version of the course, 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 of completion may be taken in any order. There are no pre-requisites. Moreover, the courses may be taken as stand-alone offerings – individuals do not need to be working towards earning a certificate of completion.
The Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion are open to all educators at McMaster and a selection of EDUCATN courses are offered each term.
Graduate students enrol in the courses that comprise the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion through Mosaic.
All other educators (e.g., postdoctoral fellows, sessional instructors, McMaster Continuing Education instructors, faculty, and staff) enroll by emailing Emily Hynes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Registration is first come, first served. Space is limited, and the courses tend to fill quickly.
Upon completing the required courses for a Certificate of Completion, the Certificate of Completion will automatically be issued (via email) by the MacPherson Institute. Please allow a few weeks for processing certificates of completion at the end of each term.
EDUCATN 640: Essential Skills in University Teaching
Format & Term Offered: Virtual (Fall, Winter, Spring)
In this zero-unit graduate course, educators select and complete six asynchronous online workshops from a list approved by the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching. The workshops are focused on foundational knowledge in teaching and learning in higher education, including 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)
This zero-unit graduate course is 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 in a volunteer/work setting, a guest lecture, teaching a course, etc.) at the beginning of the course. If you have questions about the appropriateness of your teaching opportunity, please email Erin Allard (email@example.com).
Certificates of Completion: Fall Term 2023
The following courses will be offered during the fall 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, September 12 – Tuesday, December 5
The first class (September 12), second class (October 24) and the final class (December 5) 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||In-Person||Tuesday, September 5 – Friday, September 8 (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||Not offered in the fall term.|
|EDUCATN 760||Virtual||This course begins on September 11 and will largely take place asynchronously with one 1 hour synchronous group session at the start of the term, as well as two synchronous instructor check-ins.||Session dates and times will be decided on by the group and instructor.|
|EDUCATN 770||Blended||Wednesday, September 13 – Wednesday, December 6.
Weekly, from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM, plus 1 hour of asynchronous online work.
|EDUCATN 780||In-Person||This course will largely take place asynchronously with weekly class sessions on the following dates:
The following Frequently Asked Questions will provide an overview of questions educators might have about the Certificates of Completion.
Beginning in Spring 2023, the MacPherson Institute stopped offering the Legacy Certificates (Foundations and Scholar). If you had previously 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 by emailing Emily Hynes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You may not earn both versions of the Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion.
Many EDUCATN courses you have already taken toward the Legacy Foundation or Scholars Certificates of Completion continue to count toward the Theory and Inquiry and Practice and Application Certificates of Completion.
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|
The new Certificates of Completion, and all of the courses included therein, are open to all educators at McMaster. Educators may choose to complete one or both of the Certificates of Completion or may choose to only complete select courses.
The Teaching and Learning Certificates of Completion are offered free of charge to all McMaster educators as part of 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.
Below are some estimates for contact hours for completion (note: contact hours do not account for time spent on preparatory work or assessments):
EDUCATN 640 (~15 hours)
EDUCATN 740 (~24 hours)
EDUCATN 750/751 (~36 hours)
EDUCATN 760 (~30 hours)
EDUCATN 770 (~36 hours)
EDUCATN 780 (~30 hours)
Each of these options are possible to complete in one term. It is recommended that educators NOT take more than two courses concurrently.
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 the MacPherson Institute 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 (email@example.com).
For questions about the curriculum, modes of engagement, assessments or Certificate of Completion structure, please reach out to Erin Allard (firstname.lastname@example.org).