Grad Teaching Development Tracks

Grad Teaching Development Tracks are sets of short, interactive workshops intended for early- and mid-program graduate students interested in improving their teaching skills while teaching at MIT or applying for faculty positions in the future.

Workshops are organized into 4 tracks, each consisting of 2-3 practice-based workshops. In these workshops, participants learn evidence-based teaching techniques grounded in the scholarship of teaching and learning. The 4 workshop track, described in more detail below, are:

  • Lesson Planning Track
  • Microteaching Track
  • Inclusive Teaching Track
  • Subject Design Track

Upon completing the workshop track requirements, participants will earn a letter of completion from the Director of the Teaching + Learning Lab. The letter outlines the program, confirms completion of all requirements, and can be submitted with applications for teaching positions as evidence of a commitment to teaching. Participants who complete all 4 workshop tracks will be eligible for a Teaching Certificate (equivalent to that earned through the KTCP) and a letter from the Vice Chancellor.

The Grad Teaching Development Tracks are designed to be modular and flexible. Participants may complete as many or as few tracks as they wish, but they must complete all 4 programs within 5 years to be eligible for a Certificate. 

Program requirements included attendance as well as a sequence of post-workshop assignments that must be completed to earn a Letter of Completion. Tracks have either 2 or 3 workshops, participants should expect each workshop to be about 90 minutes with about an hour of pre- and post-workshop homework.

Eligibility and selection criteria vary by track. In general, those who have previously completed 1 workshop track or more are prioritized, and graduate student applicants are prioritized over postdocs.

Workshop Tracks

Lesson Planning Track

The Lesson Planning Track is a sequence of 3 workshops focused on preparing an effective lesson plan for a class session or recitation, developing skills for classroom presentation and effective classroom activities, and giving formative feedback to students. Over the course of the workshop track, participants develop a detailed lesson plan on a topic of their choice with feedback from the instructor.

Applications for the IAP 2021 session of the Lesson Planning Track open at 12:00 noon ET on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Workshops will take place on the following days and times

  • Workshop 1: Facilitating Learning, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2:30-4:00 ET
  • Workshop 2: Planning for Learning, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2:30-4:00 ET
  • Workshop 3: Feedback and Learning, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2:30-4:00 ET

To complete the track and receive a letter of completion, participants must attend all 3 workshops and complete required out-of-class work.

Eligibility & selection criteria

Priority is first given to those who have completed a prior workshop track and then to those who anticipate a teaching or TA appointment within the next 2 semesters. The remaining applications will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

Microteaching Track

The Microteaching Track is a sequence of 2 microteaching workshops. In a microteaching workshop, a small group of students each present a brief teaching demo and receive feedback from peers and TLL staff. Following the first microteaching workshop, participants incorporate the feedback they received into their teaching demo and present the improved version in the second session.

Note: To receive a Letter of Completion and count toward a Certificate, participants must have previously completed the Lesson Planning Track. The Microteaching Track is the only series that can be taken more than once.

The Microteaching Track will be next offered in March 2021.

Eligibility and selection criteria

Priority is first given to those who have completed a prior workshop track (particularly the Lesson Planning Track) and then to those who anticipate a teaching or TA appointment within the next 2 semesters. The remaining applications will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

Inclusive Teaching Track

The Inclusive Teaching Track is a sequence of 2 workshops focused on creating inclusive and welcoming classrooms, a prerequisite for effective learning. Participants will practice reflecting on their own experiences and perspectives while learning effective strategies to make their classrooms equitable and inclusive.

The Inclusive Teaching Track will be offered in May 2021.

Eligibility and selection criteria

Priority is given to those who have completed a prior workshop track. The remaining applications will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

Subject Design Track

The Subject Design Track is a sequence of 3 workshops focused on course design. Participants will learn to build a course by first identifying goals and then organizing assignments and content to align with these goals. Over the course of the program, participants will develop a syllabus for a course of their choice with feedback from the instructor.

The Subject Design Track will be offered in Fall 2021.

Eligibility and selection criteria

Priority is first given to those who have completed a prior workshop track and then to those who have few remaining semesters in their program. The remaining applications will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered. 

Earning a Certificate

If a participant completes all 4 tracks, they are eligible for a Teaching Certificate and letter from the Vice Chancellor. Workshop tracks may be completed in any order except the Microteaching Track, which must be completed after the Lesson Planning Track to count toward the certificate. While the precise sequence of workshop tracks is up to individual participants, the intended flow through the program is shown in the chart below:

Frequently asked questions

I would like a certificate. Which path should I take: The Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program or Grad Teaching Development Tracks?

The goals of both KTCP and the workshop tracks are the same. However, the right program for you will depend on the kind of training you are looking for and the time left in your program or appointment.

Kaufman Teaching Certificate ProgramGrad Teaching Development Tracks
Intended for postdocs and late-program graduate students, with half of the seats reserved for postdocs. Priority for all applicants is based on remaining semesters in MIT appointments.Intended for early-program graduate students. Priority is given to those who have already completed a workshop track. 
Program (10 workshops) must be completed within 1 semesterShorter time commitment per semester (2-3 workshops) Program can be completed over several years
Certificate awarded after the semester-long program.Letter of completion awarded after each workshop track. Certificate received after completing all 4 workshop tracks.

When should I take a workshop track?

Each workshop track is designed for graduate students at different phases of their program, though you may take any workshop track at any time. Broadly:

  • The Lesson Planning and Microteaching Track are most relevant for early-career TAs show are currently or about to begin a TA position.
  • The Subject Design Track is most relevant for graduate students who will soon graduate and want to practice designing new courses.
  • The Inclusive Teaching Track is relevant to any graduate student at any time.

What’s the difference between a letter of completion and a Teaching Certificate?

The difference between a letter and a certificate is the holder’s commitment to teaching development. Participants who complete the requirements of the short workshop track receive a letter. To receive a certificate, participants must either complete all 4 workshop tracks or a much higher impact program like the KTCP.

Either letters of completion or certificates may be included in a teaching portfolio or cited on your C.V.

Do I need to complete all 4 workshop tracks?

No. You may complete as many or as few workshop tracks as you have time for or are interested in. Upon completing each workshop track, you will earn a Letter of Completion from the Teaching + Learning Lab.

Is there a time limit to complete all 4 programs for a certificate?

There is no minimum amount of time to complete all 4 tracks. However, you should plan to complete all 4 tracks within 5 years.

What kinds of questions are on the application?

The application collects basic contact information, information about your appointment at MIT, and information about any forthcoming teaching commitments you have. 

When will the [X] Track be offered again?

Workshop tracks are currently offered on the following schedule:

  • Fall: Subject Design Track
  • IAP: Lesson Planning Track
  • Early Spring: Microteaching Track
  • Late Spring: Inclusive Teaching Track

More sessions may be scheduled in the future.

Is a workshop track a credit-bearing subject? Do they appear on my transcript?

No, none of the workshop tracks are credit-bearing subjects, and you do not receive a grade at the end. Completion is determined by attendance and completion of required homework. A workshop track does not appear on your transcript, but upon completing each program, you will receive a Letter of Completion from TLL attesting to the work you have done.

Can I apply for the Microteaching Track, even if I haven’t done the Lesson Planning Track?

Yes, but you will need to participate in the microteaching a second time to earn a certificate. Note that the Microteaching Track is the only workshop track that can be completed more than once.

Is there a fee to take a workshop track or to apply for a certificate?

No. There is no fee to apply or enroll in any workshop track, nor is there a fee to receive a certificate upon completing all 4 tracks.

What is the time commitment for each track?

Time commitment will vary for each track, depending on the number of sessions. In general, each workshop is 90 minutes long and is coupled with pre- and post-workshop homework. You should plan to spend at least 90 minutes preparing materials (reading and completing preparatory tasks) before each workshop. You should also plan to spend at least an hour to complete and upload each post-workshop assignment.

Will I be able to complete a track if I miss a session?

Workshops are practice-based and interactive and few in number. It is difficult to compensate for missing them, and there will be no make-up sessions. If you already know that you will need to miss a workshop, we encourage you to plan to participate in a future iteration of that workshop track.

Are these workshop tracks open to postdocs? Why are graduate students prioritized in selection criteria?

Grad Teaching Development Tracks are offered by the Teaching + Learning Lab under the Office of the Vice Chancellor, which is charged with supporting undergraduate and graduate student education. Postdocs are invited to apply for the Kaufman Teaching Certificate Program, where postdoc participation is generously supported by the Office of the Vice President for Research.