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:  Respond to diversity in worldview, position, and power

  • Reflect on personal power and position, and develop strategies for power sharing and choices for students.
  • Value perspectives and worldviews different than one’s own.
  • Use strategies to encourage and foster open and healthy dialogue.

Essential Teaching Competency B: Designs lesssons appropriately and teaches them effectively

  • Design lessons with curricular alignment,
    • Create outcomes that are active, and use verbs, content, context
    • Select instructional strategies aligned to a self-generated outcome
  • Select appropriate content and order it to promote learning,
    • Distinguish between what is essential to know, nice to know and not necessary
    • Chunk, sequence, and scaffold essential content
  • Use effective instructional approaches given the outcomes, context, and learners,
    • Adjust active lesson plan given formative assessment and/or context
    • Adapt communication for audience and purpose
    • Identify potential solutions to prevent and respond to classroom management problems

Essential Teaching Competency C: Value improving and growing teaching practice

  • Reflect on current teaching practices to adjust and improve,
    • Accurately self- assess effectiveness of current practice
    • Collect evidence of teaching efficacy
  • Reflect on degree to which the TPC essential teaching competencies (based on the USask Learning Charter) are enacted in one’s teaching practice
    • Recognize elements of the TPC essential teaching competencies in personal teaching practice
    • Identify areas of the Charter for further exploration
  • Begin to clarify and refine a teaching philosophy,
    • Articulate personal beliefs and assumptions about “good teaching” 
  • Make appropriate changes based on feedback,
    • Choose appropriate responses

Review a more detailed version for USask faculty and students.


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.