About this course

GPS 989: Introduction to University Teaching is a one-term course for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who are interested in becoming prepared to teach.  GPS 989 is ideal for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who are considering a career in teaching as a professor, sessional lecturer, or in non-academic settings such as a manager, leader, or coach.

Course overview

In this course, you will learn how we learn, practice planning for teaching, and revise short lessons. You will experience a wide variety of instructional approaches and learn to select the one that you will use given your learning outcomes and learners. You will document your progress through reflective assignments and by participating in peer and self-assessment of your progress.


GPS 989 is a non-credit (Pass/Fail) course. If you successfully complete the course based on the following requirements, you will receive a certificate and note on your transcript that will indicate a “Pass” in the course.

  • A “Pass” is based upon sufficient competency in achieving the course outcomes by agreed upon deadlines. Student who are absent for more than two classes will need to make arrangements to be able to demonstrate competencies from in-class work they missed.
  • If, for any reason, you need to drop the course, you must do this according to the University’s official processes, dates, and deadlines, or else your transcript will indicate a “Fail.”

Students who indicate interest can choose to use the course towards Teaching Preparation Certification. Please speak to the instructor when starting the course if you are interested.

Teaching experience

You do not need to have prior teaching experience to take 989. If you plan to teach and take this course at the same time, please be aware that you will need to plan your time accordingly. That being said, many of our graduates feel this is a valuable way to experience learning about teaching in a very practical way.

Review the TPC Rubric

Essential Teaching Competency A:  Exemplify Learning Behaviours that I am Teaching Others

  • Respond to diversity in worldview, position, and power 
    • I reflect on personal power and position, and develop strategies for power sharing and choices for students.
    • I value perspectives and worldviews different from my own.
  • Communicate effectively
    • I use strategies to encourage and foster open and healthy dialogue among my students.
    • I purposefully select and use strategies to communicate inclusively and responsively with my students.

Essential Teaching Competency B: Strive for Excellence in Course Design and Teaching

  • Design courses with constructive alignment
    • I create outcomes that are active, and have all three parts (active verb, content, and context).
    • I select active and engaging instructional strategies aligned to an outcome and intended assessment.
    • I select assessment strategies aligned to a self-generated outcome.
  • Design lessons to promote learning
    • I chunk, sequence, and scaffold essential content and skills.
    • I design to engage diverse learners.
  • Use effective instructional approaches given the outcomes, context, and learners
    • I use formative assessment to inform and adapt course/lesson design.
    • I purposefully use a wide range of accessible communication strategies that make it easy for my students to understand what I am teaching.
    • I identify potential solutions to prevent and respond to classroom management problems.

Essential Teaching Competency C: Enhance Continuously 

  • Begin to clarify and refine a teaching philosophy
    • I articulate personal beliefs and assumptions about “good teaching.”
    • I set measurable goals for developing teaching practice, guided by evidence.
  • Make appropriate changes based on feedback


Register for GPS 989 using the registration channel in PAWS. Select the option to add/drop classes and select the term for which you would like to register. Enter the course reference number (CRN) for GPS 989 and submit your changes. Check to ensure you have added the course successfully and that you have not received any error messages.


Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning

GMCTL has a variety of programming, workshops, non-credit courses and resources for graduate students or post-doctorals who are new to teaching and who already have some experience but want to learn more.