Hopkins creates a free online course to equip doctoral students with teaching skills

A significant number of doctoral candidates will soon become the next generation of faculty members at the university level. And while many of them are experts in their respective fields, they might not have the skills necessary to successfully transition into a teaching position.

To prepare these future instructors for the classroom, Johns Hopkins University will offer a free online course, University Teaching 101, designed to introduce the strategies and skills needed to meet the demands of teaching at university level. The massive open online course – MOOC, for short – will be offered through Coursera and is set to launch on March 17.

“Not so long ago it was believed that anyone who graduated from a doctoral program was capable of teaching,” said Pamela R. Jeffries, the university’s vice-rector for digital initiatives. “In recent years, however, it has become apparent that teaching is not intuitive behavior. In addition to content, teaching also involves a complex intellectual process, and to develop the ‘art’ of teaching, teachers need guidance and support.”

A course like University Teaching 101, says Jeffries, will prepare new educators to “jump feet first” into teaching positions.

The six-week, six-module course draws on expertise from across Johns Hopkins. In addition to Jeffries, instructors include the Dean of the School of Education David W. Andrews; Anne W. Riley, Professor at the Faculties of Medicine and Public Health; Professor at the School of Nursing Anne E. Belcher; medical school professor Rachel B. Levine; medical school professor Joseph Cofrancesco, Jr.; and Michelle Menzerdirector of Johns Hopkins Educational Resource Center.

The course is free, with a Signature Track option available for $49, and open to anyone who wishes to participate (you don’t need to be a Johns Hopkins PhD student). You can register on Coursera.