Essentials of Teaching and Learning

UNC Charlotte Essentials of Teaching and Learning School of Professional StudiesThis workshop series provides a foundation in important aspects of teaching and learning in higher education. Faculty, graduate students, and academic support staff seeking to earn the Essentials of Teaching and Learning Certificate should attend each of the five workshops in this series and also complete one peer observation by visiting a TOP Course.  The program has been designed so that the certificate can be earned in one semester but there is no time limit. Participants who complete all the requirements will be issued a digital badge via Credly for display on their professional profile that they have completed this certificate.


  • Basic Computer Skills: email, accessing the internet, uploading and downloading files, linking pages
  • No prior workshops required

Learning Outcomes

The participants will be able to

  • Design a course syllabus   
  • Develop clear learning objectives 
  • Identify tools and strategies for giving and receiving feedback  
  • Identify inclusive teaching strategies 
  • Identify active learning strategies 

Required Workshops (~10.5 hrs)

  1. Syllabus 101: Roadmap to Success (1.25 hours for f2f; 3 hours for online): Your course syllabus is one of the most important documents you create for your class. It serves as an agreement between you and your students about your goals for the course and your expectations for your students, plus it conveys a first--and lasting--impression with your students. This session will provide information about the important components of a syllabus, ways in which you can enhance your course syllabus, and strategies for using your syllabus as a learning tool.

  2. Introduction to Learning Objectives and Backward Design (3 hours): This workshop clarifies the use of learning objectives and provides concrete steps to write objectives for your course. This is a one-week, fully online course in Canvas that is facilitated by CTL Instructional Designers.

  3. Using Feedback to Improve Teaching and Learning (3 hours): Feedback is integral to the teaching and learning process. Providing students with feedback can motivate and guide behavior change that translates into student success. Soliciting feedback from students allows faculty to make changes in their instructional strategies that also lead to student success. This workshop provides an overview of tools and strategies for giving and receiving feedback – both traditional and technology-based – that can be easily incorporated into any course.

  4. Inclusive Teaching and Learning (1.25): Any workshop from the Inclusive Teaching and Learning series will fulfill this requirement.

4a. Difference in the Classroom: The real-life implications of implicit biases can create invisible barriers to opportunity and achievement for some students -- a stark contrast to the values and intentions of educators and administrators who dedicate their professional lives to their students' success. This workshop will focus on understanding our lens, and dissecting implicit bias and its effects in the classroom. (Facilitated by the Office of Identity, Equity & Engagement)

4b. Enhancing Cultural Awareness:  The session leaders will present an overview of the common definition and assessment of culture at UNC Charlotte and explore cultural dimensions based on theory and research. Participants will receive resources for sample assignments and a mapping exercise to enhance student cultural awareness. (Facilitated by the Office of International Programs)

4c. Viewpoint Diversity & Civil Discourse in the Classroom:  College is designed to teach students how to think--not what to think.  An inclusive classroom must provide opportunities for students to form and express diverse viewpoints while respecting differing viewpoints of others. Teaching students how to engage in civil discourse can ensure that diverse viewpoints are discussed without offending others or disrupting the class. This workshop will provide techniques and resources to help faculty engage students in safe and respectful discussions around diverse viewpoints and perspectives. (Facilitated by Kim Buch and Jules Keith-Le)

4d. Using Cognitive Empathy in the Classroom:  Adversity outside the classroom has always seeped into the classroom via multiple pathways. However, in today's environment, it is impossible to ignore how life challenges instructors' ability to educate and students' ability to learn. This workshop discusses cognitive empathy, what it is, and how to incorporate its use to strengthen the learning environment of the classroom, whether traditional, 100% online, or somewhere in between. The workshop includes multi-methods: short lectures, group discussions, and other activities. Please join us for an active session where everyone will learn something new. (Facilitated by Jeanette Bennett) 

  1. Getting Started with Active Teaching and Learning (1.25 hours): Active learning requires students to be engaged in their learning rather than being passive listeners. To enhance learning, students must speak, write, think deeply, and collaborate with others about the content and concepts presented in class. This workshop provides an introduction to active teaching and active learning strategies that can be used during class.


  1. Who is eligible to pursue and earn this certificate?
    • The CTL certificates are for instructors and academic support staff. The CTL recognizes that many academic support staff are in roles where professional development related to instruction would be valuable and we welcome their pursuit of the certificate.
  2. Do I have to complete all the requirements in a single semester or year?
    • No! You may take as long as you like to earn the certificate. 
  3. How do I access a transcript of the CTL workshops I have completed? 
  4. How is the certificate awarded?
    • Participants who complete all the requirements will be issued both a paper certificate as well as a digital badge via Credly for display on their professional profile showing they have completed this certificate.