The seminar is at the heart of the Teach@CUNY Summer Institute, with small, interdisciplinary groups designed to build community centered around the experience of teaching as graduate students in CUNY. The seminar introduces and models teaching strategies and tools that participants can adapt to their own needs and contexts, and which are applicable across modes of instruction. In concert with the broader Institute, the seminar offers a space and support around the uncertainty and anxieties of potentially teaching online in the midst of a global health crisis. The seminar begins broadly with core principles of teaching and then explores ways to enact those commitments in course design and planning.

The overall goal of the seminar is for participants to explore a variety of teaching strategies, materials and modes; synthesize what they have learned across the seminar and institute to their own needs; and apply this knowledge and skills practically toward their future courses.

The seminar is designed to help participants:

    • Build community and support around teaching during the institute, online and beyond
    • Address the challenges of, and ways to navigate, teaching online during a pandemic
    • Reflect on various pedagogical approaches as experienced in the seminar
    • Adapt and apply pedagogical approaches for use in their own courses, disciplines and contexts
    • Develop teaching materials for their fall courses

This year’s seminar facilitators are Luke Waltzer, Kaitlin Mondello, Asilia Franklin-Phipps, Laurie Huron, Luis Henao Uribe, Avra Spector, and John Zayac.


    • Zoom
    • Google suite
    • CUNY Academic Commons (WordPress)
    • Slack
    • Manifold
    • Padlet

Teaching Strategies

    • First day/activities, icebreakers
    • Activities
    • Lesson Planning
    • Brainstorming
    • Full group discussion (synchronous, verbal and written)
    • Small group discussion (synchronous, verbal and written)
    • Asynchronous Discussion (written)
    • Group Work
    • Free writing/low-stakes writing
    • Connecting synchronous and asynchronous learning
    • Annotation
    • Exit Tickets
    • Shared Reflection
    • Course Planning and Design
    • Project Management
    • Scaffolding


Meeting 1

Theme: Introduction

Our introductory meeting will provide an overview of the seminar and lay the foundation for discussion over the next 4 weeks. Attendees will have a chance to get to know their peers and the TLC facilitators. Together, we will reflect on our past teaching and learning experiences and discuss our hopes and anxieties for teaching in Fall 2020. The meeting will introduce the technology platforms that will be used during the institute and we will begin diving into the TLC’s Teach@CUNY Handbook, which serves as the core text of the seminar.

Learning Goals

    • Meet each other and the TLC staff
    • Reflect on our own education and experiences (both at CUNY and outside), including online during COVID-19
    • Articulate needs in the institute based on where participants are in their course planning, teaching experience, etc.
    • Acclimate to the technology and processes for the seminar


Meeting 2

Theme: Principles

In this session, we will think through the teaching principles introduced in the TLC’s Teach@CUNY Handbook by considering their implications for instructional design. Participants will begin to identify and contextualize the teaching principles that will underpin their course.

Learning Goals

    • Analyze the principles that we use in the TLC Teach@ CUNY Handbook
    • Question, challenge, expand and adapt the principles for their own courses
    • Consider the principles in light of teaching online and during a pandemic


Meeting 3

Theme: Design

Our efforts will shift in Meeting 3 to a critical examination of the syllabus as an instructional artifact. We will consider the positions of our courses in the context of our disciplines and the CUNY curriculum, consider elements of effective course design, and discuss the intersections between course policies and student success.

Learning Goals

    • Consider the structure and role of their course in the discipline, college, etc.
    • Think critically about the syllabus and course design
    • Consider policies in light of teaching online during a pandemic
    • Understand synchronous and asynchronous approaches


Meeting 4

Theme: Practices

During meeting 4, we will focus on concrete practices that enact core pedagogical principles. In particular, we will practice backward design for learning goals, scaffolding assignments, and integrating multiple forms of engagement with course content.

Learning Goals

    • Develop specific learning goals for their courses
    • Learn about and practice the concept of scaffolding
    • Experience multiple ways to engage with material, especially online
    • Design flexible timelines that allow for asynchronous engagement


Meeting 5

Theme: Implementation

On this day we will continue to connect teaching principles to structure and facilitate student learning through class activities that encourage active learning, scaffolded assignments, and methods for assessment.

Learning Goals

    • Create engaging activities and lesson plans
    • Design an assignment with scaffolded steps
    • Consider methods and practices for assessment


Meeting 6

Theme: Plan

During our final meeting, we will reflect on what’s been covered in the seminar, continue to discuss workshops and other support opportunities, and identify what work still needs to be done over the remainder of the summer. Attendees will leave this session with a plan and a timeline to complete preparation of their courses.

Learning Goals

    • Discuss workshops, identify which will be most helpful given individual needs of attendees
    • Identify what research and support will be necessary over the next two months to plan for the start of the fall term