Biology 535

General Information
Course Title
Teaching and Learning in the Life Sciences
Course Overview

Life sciences graduate students:

Are you headed for a career involving university or college teaching?


Many MSc and PhD students in the life sciences will take up careers involving teaching. Appointment committees look favourably on applicants with a proven commitment to teaching.  For those who go on to a job as a Principal Investigator (PI), in some university or college, at some stage you will come before a promotion and tenure committee, and many such committees are now looking specifically not only for teaching evaluation ratings, but for statements of sound teaching philosophy in teaching dossiers.

As graduates of an advanced teaching and learning course you will develop the skills of a professional instructor. Furthermore you will be able to apply these skills within the context of the special challenges of teaching in the life sciences.

This is an advanced teaching and learning 3-credit offering, in term 2, including the following topics:

  • constructivist philosophy of learning
  • active learning methods
  • inclusivity
  • critical thinking
  • modes of assessment
  • teaching dossier and portfolio
  • technology in teaching and learning.


Students in this course will:

• as a prerequisite, complete an Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW), prior to the course, at the UBC Teaching and Academic Growth Centre.  This free workshop introduces students to the basics of teaching. The ISW can be taken in the summer or fall term (register as soon as possible at

• attend one three hour class per week in term 2.

• deliver three mini lessons; one to fellow students and two in real undergraduate classrooms

• observe and critique your peers' lessons.

• write a weekly reflection on the events and ideas of the week

• develop a teaching portfolio

For further information contact Instructors:

Dr. Lacey Samuels, 


Course Term
Course Code
BIOL 535
Course Department