nursing schoolA significant number of PhD candidates will soon become the next generation of faculty at the university level. A new Johns Hopkins University MOOC, University Teaching 101, will see to it that more of them are prepared to “jump in feet first,” says Pamela R. Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, Vice Provost of Digital Initiatives.

“Not too long ago, it was believed that anyone who graduated from a doctoral program was capable of teaching,” explains Jeffries. “In recent years, however, it has become apparent that teaching is not an intuitive behavior.  In addition to content, teaching also involves a complex intellectual process, and to develop the ‘art’ of teaching, professors require guidance and support.”

University Teaching 101 is a six-week, six-module, massive open online course, or MOOC, designed to introduce the strategies and skills necessary to meet the demands of teaching at a university level.  It’s set to launch March 17 on the Coursera platform. Registration is now open. (The course is free, with a Signature Track option available for $49.)

“The big thing is that it’s collaborative,” says Jeffries of a course that draws expertise from across the schools of Johns Hopkins. Presenters include:

•    Jeffries, on the principles of best practice in education

•    David W. Andrews, PhD, Dean of the JHU School of Education, on the science of teaching learning

•    Anne W. Riley, MS, PhD, of the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health, on developing an effective instructional plan

•    Anne E. Belcher, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the JHU School of Nursing, on knowing your audience

•    Rachel B. Levine, MD, MPH, and Joseph Cofrancesco Jr., MD, MPH, FACP, of JHU Medicine, on planning and facilitating effective small group learning

•    Michelle Mentzer, EdD, of the JHU School of School of Professional Studies in Business and Education, on principles of great teaching in an online environment

University Teaching 101 is designed to engage participants through discussion forums, case studies, peer review of cases, quizzes, and the like, “all with the intent that we want people to be successful and complete it,” explains Jeffries.

The MOOC springs from an innovation award Jeffries and Candice Dalrymple, Associate Dean of University Libraries, earned in 2013 for their Preparing Future Faculty Teaching Academy (PFFTA) for PhD students across the university. University Teaching 101 is the key to phase one of PFFTA: supplying a foundational knowledge in teaching. The MOOC is a way to capture students “who don’t have time because they’re doing clinical work or whatever. They can do the MOOC in their off hours,” Jeffries says. Students hooked on the program then move on to phase two, which continues the foundation building, adding immersion workshops. Phase three puts PhD students in a classroom with a mentor.

Jeffries, formerly Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Nursing, says the MOOC also will help JHU meet its obligations as part of a consortium known as the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning, or CIRTL. It’s an alliance with universities across the nation that means, among other things, “we can use their materials–online courses and webinars,” Jeffries explains. “But part of that means giving back and sharing resources and best practices.”