President's Teaching Scholars Program




Mitch Handelsman

Psychology Department

Psy 8200 (Teaching Skills Workshop) Course Description:

Last summer I co-created and co-taught (with Allison Bashe, a senior instructor in Psychology) a new doctoral-level course called “Teaching Skills Seminar” (in the future it will be called “Teaching Skills Workshop”). We taught the 2-credit-hour course during Maymester—a three-week term. One of the innovations we’re most proud of was the “reflective time out” (RTO), which was this offer—made during the first class: “Any time, during any class period, any of us can call an RTO. That is, you can stop us and ask us why we’re doing what we’re doing.”


Psy 1005 (Introduction to Psychology II) Course Description:

In the fall of 2009, mostly as a result of the teaching skills course I taught in May, I re-designed my introductory psychology course to be more active and engaging for students. Before last fall, 10 of my 25 class periods were “active learning” sessions; the rest were relatively traditional lectures. Last fall, all 25 class periods were active learning sessions. As part of this re-design, I developed a new writing assignment, which I call “PROPS,” or “Processing and Reflecting on Psychology.” These are short (a few sentences to 1 page) written pieces over the assigned reading that show some processing of the information students read over and above summarizing or questioning. They were due on the date the reading is due. Students needed to hand in 15 props (out of the 25 days that reading was due); they could choose when.