Transforming college teaching courses into authentic experiences: Learning through diversity

Sandra Courter, Joan Kwako, John Wright, Deanna Byrnes, Thatcher Root, Clif Conrad

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Authentic achievement requires learners to "engage in disciplined inquiry to produce knowledge that has value in their lives beyond simply proving their competence." (Newmann, 1991) While college teaching courses provide an important role in preparing future faculty in STEM disciplines, a more authentic experience was the goal of one already successful course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Similar to other courses across the nation, students write a teaching philosophy, design a syllabus and learning plans, and complete a micro-teaching experience. While the micro-teaching experience is continually ranked as the most valuable, the instructors experimented with making the micro-teaching more authentic. In so doing, they piloted a "micro-course" in which students identified real students, rather than their peers, to teach. The unique components to the approach involved both the teaching-as-research model and the authentic achievement model. The microcourse provided the context for potentially rich conversations about teaching and learning and, therefore, for learning itself. However, results of the pilot indicated that the authentic microcourse experience was not as significant as the instructors had assumed. Rather, the components of diversity, learning community, and teaching-as-research were central to student learning; the basic micro-teaching experience returns as the authentic learning experience central to the course. This paper describes the microcourse, an innovative approach to micro-teaching, the experience of students in the pilot of this innovation, and results from this "teaching as research" experiment. This research approach to microteaching provided an opportunity to try out different teaching methods and strategies for engaging learners; learning through diversity remains key to authentic experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Event113th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2006 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jun 18 2006Jun 21 2006


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