Course Design and Planning for Teaching

As a graduate student, I have yet to implement my own course and my planning has focused instead on improving laboratory sections in the courses where I am a teaching assistant. Even so, I have included here a syllabus for a course I will teach in the future (Conservation Paleobiology Syllabus) and examples of lectures I have given. In designing the Conservation Paleobiology course, I wanted to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the field and highlight the applicability of this, as of yet, underutilized conservation science. The course is unique in that very few institutions can offer a course on this topic; however, I hope this syllabus can serve as a tool to change this.

A 125,000 year old fossil reef on San Salvador Island, Bahamas.

I have included two different lecture examples, both in Powerpoint form. The first is an example of a lecture on the importance of reefs in marine communities through time, from the Cambrian (>540 million years ago) to the present. I included this as an example of a lecture that I might give in a paleontology course. The second is a seminar that I have given on multiple occasions and is focused on my research. Although many of the individual components of this seminar talk could be expanded to full lectures, this is an example of how I might integrate my research into classroom learning. In preparing these lectures, and in preparing for laboratory sections, my ultimate goal is to remove jargon and to simply the concepts as much as possible. In terms of preparation, this means creating visualizations for challenging concepts, defining or finding alternative expressions for jargon, and streamlining my lessons to improve their clarity.