GSE Instructor Handbook: Preparing to Teach
The Graduate School of Education (GSE) recognizes the importance of hiring faculty who have both current experience in the field and strong academic preparation, especially to teach professional development courses. Graduate study is oriented toward scholarship, research, and professional training. At the graduate level, students are members of a community of scholars and professionals working on the discovery and communication of knowledge. Our programs provide opportunities for advanced study and specialization and instill methods of independent investigation. As a result of the close association of advanced study and research, graduate students achieve an intellectual independence and maturity, which serves them after graduation.
Guidelines for Preparing a Syllabus
Follow the approved syllabus. Your course is part of a larger, well-designed program. Program faculty developed the syllabus with course objectives linked to program objectives and competencies. It is important that you address these objectives in your course. While every instructor has some freedom to choose the methods of instruction and assessment, it is critical that your course follow the approved course syllabus to address content tied to program goals. Substantive course changes require a formal approval process.
If your course is an experimental or professional development course, discuss the objectives with your department chair, program director, or Continuing Education programmer.
Follow the prescribed format for syllabi. The GSE has developed a format for a course syllabus, which includes the GSE’s mission and shared goals displayed in a conceptual framework. We encourage you to weave these into course objectives, content, and evaluation/assessment of student learning.
Use the GSE Syllabus Template. The GSE Syllabus template includes the required elements for GSE syllabi.
- Refer to the GSE Syllabus Toolkit. The toolkit includes a GSE syllabus template, sample syllabus, syllabus checklist, and links to standards.
Submit your syllabus to your program assistant for archiving. New courses or changes to an existing course require a review process.
We also use—and encourage our students to use—APA Style when preparing materials for classes. For help with APA Style see Purdue's APA Style Page (Purdue Owl).
See the Syllabus Toolkit for syllabus materials for instructors, including Oregon Administrative Rules; GSE syllabus template; example syllabi; links to national and state standards; principles of universal design; checklist for diversity and inclusiveness; and syllabus checklist.
GSE Syllabus Template
We developed a GSE syllabus template for instructors to use. The black text provides a framework for the syllabus content, while the red text signals the specific information to be added.
Examples of recently used syllabi may serve as useful references.
This checklist can be used to help you evaluate the completeness of your GSE course syllabus.
Syllabus Checklist for Diversity and Inclusiveness
This checklist can be used to help you evaluate attention to diversity and inclusiveness in your GSE course syllabus.
Assessment of Student Learning
Assessment of student learning is a primary responsibility of every Portland State University faculty member. The University is in the process of transitioning from a focus on providing courses to assessing and ensuring student learning outcomes.
GSE instructors should:
- Align their assessment to course objectives.
- Make objectives and the criteria for evaluating performance clear at the outset of instruction.
- Think of multiple ways to assess learning and be prepared to make accommodations for those who have unique disabilities or learning challenges.
- Give timely feedback. Evaluate and return assignments and tests as soon as possible. (The most effective feedback is immediate.)
- Encourage students to evaluate their own work using the criteria you will use to assess their work.
- Give feedback throughout the term. Do not assign all work for completion and return at the end of term. It is important that students get feedback on their work early enough to make improvements in their performance.
- Develop a system for evaluating and recording data on student work. If you need help with this, your faculty mentor or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs can assist you.
- Use assessment of student work to evaluate your own teaching. Which concepts and principles did students seem to understand best? In what ways could you improve the presentation of concepts and principles that seemed unclear to students?
Tk20 Assessment System
Tk20 is the online data management and assessment system used in the GSE. We use this system for advising, collecting information about and tracking field experiences, licensure, and key assignments for some of our courses. Please check with your program coordinator and/or department chair before your course begins to determine whether or not your course has a key assignment and assessment set up in Tk20. You can get information about your Tk20 user name and password by sending an email to email@example.com, as well as assistance resetting passwords and learning how to use the system. Help guides are available (including a link to help videos and step-by-step guides) at goo.gl/1Hkwm. Tk20 can also be used as a place for students to access course documents such as syllabi and readings, and a place for you to set up assignments or quizzes. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn to use these options.
Tk20 is the online data management and assessment system used in the GSE. We use this system for advising, collecting information about and tracking field experiences, licensure, and key assignments for some of our courses. Field experience forms that are required for licensure are sent through Tk20 so that you can access them online. Forms need to be fully completed and submitted by the end of each term. You can get information about your Tk20 user name and password by sending an email to email@example.com, as well as assistance resetting passwords and learning how to use the system. Help guides are available (including a link to help videos and step-by-step guides) at goo.gl/1Hkwm. In addition, PDF versions of these forms are available online at www.pdx.edu/education/information-university-supervisors-and-cohort-leaders.