Fall 2013 Mini Course: "What the Best College Teachers Do": A Discussion about College Teaching





This CIRTL mini-course will combine online synchronous discussions about Ken Bain's book, "What the Best College Teachers Do" with asynchronous online activities. Bain interviewed a select group of college faculty and asked them about their teaching practices: how they prepare to teach, how they articulate expectations of their students, how they engage students, and how they evaluate students and themselves. Each chapter touches on these important elements of effective teaching, and we will use the book as a point of departure to discuss these issues in greater detail- especially as they pertain to teaching and learning in STEM.

In this course, participants will:

  • Be exposed to the teaching, learning and assessment literature;
  • Participate in professional teaching and learning groups; and
  • Participate in local, regional and national Teaching and Learning learning communities.



  • Instructor: Dr. Nancy Ruggeri, Associate Director of Graduate Programs, Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching, Northwestern University
  • Duration of course: 9/20/2013 - 12/20/2013
  • Synchronous Meeting Times: Every other Friday beginning 9/20/2013 through 12/13/2013 (9/20, 10/4, 10/18, 11/1, 11/15, 11/22, 12/13)
  • Time: 11:30-1:00 ET/10:30-12:00CT/9:30-11:00MT/8:30-10:00PT
  • Format: Bi-weekly discussion-based book group
  • Credits: This is a non-graded and non-credit bearing course
  • Course Type: Graduate mini-course
  • Open To: Early or advanced  CIRTL Network graduate students, post docs, academic staff and faculty
  • Technologies: Blackboard Collaborate, Moodle, E-mail

***All participants must have a copy of the book, "What the Best College Teachers Do." Bain, Ken (2004). What the Best College Teachers Do. Cambridge, MA,  Harvard University Press; 1 edition. ISBN: 0-674-01325-5**

Course Credit 

This is a non-credit bearing course.

Technology Requirements

Synchronous sessions will use Blackboard Collaborate,a web-based virtual meeting room.  For these sessions, students will need individual access to a computer in a quiet location, a high-speed Internet connection, and audio and video capabilities. Information on specific hardware requirements for CIRTL courses can be found on the Course Equipment page.

Blackboard orientations will take place every 1st Monday and rd Thursday of each month in BBC Room 2 at 3:00ET/2:00CT/1:00MT/12:00PT. The dates are as follows:  8/5/, 8/15, 9/2, 9/19, 10/7, 10/17, 11/4, 11/21, 12/2). Additional orientation sessions will be conducted on 9/3, 9/12, 9/23 at 12:00ET/11:00CT/10:00MT/9:00PT in BBC Room 2.

Asynchronous activities including assignments, and discussions will be carried out in Moodle, a course management system. A username and password for the CIRTL Moodle site will be provided prior to the start of the course.


Courses are open to students who are in a STEM & SBE field and from a CIRTL Network institution.

Once registration begins, we will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis with students from STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), SBE (Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences), and Network institutions given priority. Though registration is first come, first served, we will not accept more than three applicants from each institution per course in order to accommodate as many institutions as possible. All applicants will be informed by email about their enrollment status as soon as the course fills, but no later than August 29.

View a sample of the course registration form.

Enrolled Students

Information for enrolled students is available on the Course Preparation Checklist and the Student Resources page.


We strive to be inclusive of anyone interested in participating in our activities, programs, and courses. If you have specific accessibility needs, please let us know in advance so that we may make the necessary accommodations.

Contact Information

 If you have any questions or concerns regarding this course, contact Robin Greenler: rgreenler AT wisc.edu

Fall 2013 Course Flyer