Best Practices in Curriculum Design, Teaching and Assessment

Registration is now closed.
Course Schedule: December 2017 – April 2018

The Best Practices in Curriculum Design, Teaching and Assessment course is based on ASM’s successful Science Teaching Fellows Program, which has trained over 300 early-career educators in student centered teaching. Participants develop the skills needed to succeed in positions that have a significant teaching component.

This 5-month online course prepares participants for science teaching positions at a variety of non-doctoral institutions – community colleges, minority-serving institutions, regional or state colleges, and primarily undergraduate institutions. Fellows in the course take part in a highly focused training experience that combines in-depth webinars, pre- and post-webinar assignments, structured mentoring, and a community of practice. The experience is fast-paced, intense, interactive, and presents practical examples in microbiology education.

The course offers professional development opportunities in three significant areas:

  1. Course design and assessment
  2. Student-centered learning and pedagogies of engagement
  3. Developing a teaching philosophy and a teaching philosophy statement

Fellows will leave the course with tips for:

  • Implementing best practices in curriculum development, such as backward design
  • Using active learning strategies in the classroom
  • Identifying tools, resources, and connections to enhance classroom practices
  • Developing skill sets that make them a better applicant when applying for academic positions


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Program Details

The course is based upon successful ASM professional development models in which participants:

  • Attend interactive webinars presented by experts in the field in order to become familiar with terms, concepts and best practices.
  • Complete pre- and post-webinar assignments, including readings, skill-building activities, and reflections designed to help fellows deepen their understanding, practice emerging skills, and keep on task.
  • Participate in an online community of fellows, mentors and facilitators to share readings and resources and connect fellows with experts.

Participation Requirements  

Upon registration, fellows are required to:

  • Establish an account with the 2017-2018 Best Practices in Curriculum Design, Teaching and Assessment Course Site.
  • Participate in six 120-minute live webinar presentations. 
  • Complete all pre- and post-webinar assignments in a timely manner.
  • Participate in an online community of practice.
  • Participate in surveys for a maximum of 24 months to ascertain the effectiveness of the training.
  • Have a personal computer to connect to the webinars, access assignments, and participate in the course's online community.

The assignments will provide a solid foundation and practical experience for enhancing the fellows' training, development, and confidence.

Participants who successfully complete all assignments will be recognized in an ASM Press Release and receive a Certificate of Completion.

Syllabus and Timeline

 All webinars are slated for Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 PM Eastern (ET) Time Zone.

Introductions and Winter Break Readings
Dec 1 Registration Closes
Dec 13 Assignment: Fellow Introductions and goals
Jan 5 Assignment: Winter Break Readings
Jan 17
2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
Jan 18
2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
Adobe Connect - Mandatory Practice Session
Unit 1: Learner-Centered Teaching: An Introduction
Due: Jan 29

Assignment: Pre-Webinar 1


Jan 31

1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Webinar #1 – Learning-Centered Teaching: An Introduction
Julie Stanton, University of Georgia

Learning Goals:

  • Distinguish between how experts (instructors) and novices (students) organize knowledge.
  • Summarize how students can develop mastery in an area of study.
  • Explain the value of metacognition in learning.
  • Describe how students become self-directed learners.
Feb 5

Assignment: Post-Webinar 1


Unit 2 & 3: Curriculum Design
Feb 12

Assignment: Pre-Webinar 2


Feb 14

1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Webinar #2 – Curriculum Design, Part 1
Miriam Seguara-Totten, University of North Georgia

Learning Goals:

  • Explain the value of backward design in course development
  • Summarize the role of learning outcomes in instruction.
  • Evaluate the need for writing learning outcomes.
  • Classify learning outcomes using Anderson and Krathwohl’s taxonomy table (based on Bloom’s taxonomy)
  • Construct assessable learning outcomes
Feb 19

Assignment: Post-Webinar 2


Feb 26

Assignment: Pre-Webinar 3


Feb 28

1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Webinar #3 – Curriculum Design, Part 2
Miriam Seguara-Totten, University of North Georgia

Learning Goals:

  • Describe different types of assessment
  • Align learning outcomes with appropriate assessment type
  • List characteristics of effective learning experiences
  • Develop a course syllabi reflecting student learning outcomes and how they will be assessed
Mar 5 Assignment: Post-Webinar 3
Unit 4 & 5: Active Learning: Principles and Practice
Mar 12  Assignment: Pre-Webinar 4

Mar 14

1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Webinar #4 – Active Learning Principles & Practice, Part 1
John Buchner, University of Maryland

Learning Goals:

  • Define and recognize active learning
  • Distinguish student-centered teaching from instructor-centered teaching
  • Defend the role of alignment in maximizing student learning
  • Defend the value of group discussion in learning
Mar 19 Assignment: Post-Webinar 4
Mar 26 Assignment: Pre-Webinar 5

Mar 28

1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Webinar #5 – Active Learning Principles & Practice, Part 2
John Buchner, University of Maryland

Learning Goals:

  • Develop a repertoire of active learning group activities
  • Utilize learning outcomes to align summative assessments with active learning activities
Apr 2

Assignment: Post-Webinar 5


Unit 6: Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement: Documenting Your Perspective on Teaching and Learning
Apr 9

Assignment: Pre-Webinar 6 

 Apr 11

1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Webinar #6 Writing a Teaching Philosophy Statement: Documenting Your Perspective on Teaching and Learning
Loretta Brancaccio-Taras, Kingsborough Community College of the City College of New York

Learning Goals:

  • Define the term: teaching philosophy statement
  • Become familiar with the thinking used to develop a teaching philosophy statement
  • Identify the elements that should be included as part of a well-crafted teaching philosophy statement
Apr 16 Assignment: Post-Webinar 6
Final Reflections & Close out
Apr 25 Assignment: Final Reflection and Close out
April 30 Program Ends Eligible Graduates receive Certificates of Completion and join Science Teaching Fellows community


2017-2018  Steering Committee

Loretta Brancaccio-Taras, Kingsborough Community College of the City College of New York (Chair)
John Buchner, University of Maryland
Miriam Segura-Totten, University of North Georgia
Julie Stanton, University of Georgia

Ramaydalis Keddis, Rutgers University
Laura MacDonald, Hendrix College (STF Fellow 2012-2013)
Mel Melendrez, St. Cloud University (STF Fellow 2012-2013)
Ines Rauschenbach, Rutgers University (STF Fellow 2013-2014)
Jordan Steel, Colorado State University-Pueblo (STF Fellow 2012-2013)

ASM Education Board Liaisons
Mary Sanchez Lanier, Washington State University (Chair, ASM Education Board)

Sponsorship and Credentials
The Best Practices in Curriculum Design, Teaching and Assessment is managed by the American Society for Microbiology Education Board. In 2000, President Clinton recognized the ASM Education Board for its contribution to graduate education by presenting it with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education.



The course is aimed towards graduate students and postdocs, but early-career and faculty transitioning to teaching will also benefit.

Course participants must be:

  • Studying, conducting research, or teaching in the microbiological and related sciences
  • Willing to commit time and resources to participate in course activities from December 2017 to April 2018
  • Interested in careers that have a substantial teaching component at a non-doctoral institution


Registration is now closed. Please e-mail with questions.


ASM Members: $150
Non-Members: $225

BECOME AN ASM MEMBER! To qualify for member discounts, you must purchase a Contributing Membership or above.

Please note that no refunds will be given. Instead, all participants who pay the registration fee will be given access to the recordings for a limited time.


“This experience was completely transformative for me; learning about backwards design and alignment was like being shown the matrix! This was also my first experience writing learning objectives and that in itself is central to everything I do now in my teaching! Excellent program and a great community!”

– Chelsea Lloyd, Ph.D., Candidate at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 


“After the workshops, for the first time, I had finally understood how to write good learning outcomes and create meaningful activities and assessments. The support and feedback that I had received was meaningful and motivating. The program instilled confidence that I can change the way that we deliver the content of a course to a more student-centered approach. Working closely with my teaching assistants, we have now created an inquiry-based learning environment and assessment has shown that students are better able to apply and explain concepts present in the lab. The best part of the program is that you not only learn more about assessment, learning outcomes, and course design, you become part of a teaching community.”

Ines Rauschenbach, Ph.D., Rutgers University


“I learned how one can actively, systematically and objectively approach one's teaching skills as to make them more effective and successful. I had always limited myself to think that a good teacher was generally the product of lots of time and experience in the classroom. While I continue to think experience helps make a good teacher, I now know that the road to excellence in teaching can be smoothened and shortened if one approaches one's teaching as one would an experiment at the bench. For this reason, my understanding of teaching has broadened, which has ultimately allowed me to approach my teaching in new ways. I have also become part of a thriving community of educators and peers that I can go to for help and advice."

Veronica A. Segarra, Ph.D., High Point University 

Contact Us

Questions about the registration process should be directed to


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