Massive Open Online Courses

Dr. Cynthia Brame from Vanderbilt University presents a video in a CIRTL online course

These massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the CIRTL Network and related efforts are designed to prepare aspiring faculty in STEM fields (natural and social sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to be effective teachers and more confident and prepared early-career academics and professionals. The courses listed below are offered through EdX’s audit track for free, with a letter of completion provided by course instructors.

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Local Learning Communities

If you’re a Cornellian and interested in organizing or participating in a learning community to discuss the ideas in these courses further while they are running, please contact We are pleased to provide learning communities with access to instructor guides with discussion prompts and questions, technical support and communications assistance, and a modest budget for photocopying or refreshments.

Evidence-Based STEM Teaching Courses

These courses can be taken in either order, depending on if you would like an overview of how people learn (in course 1), or to jump right to in-depth strategies for advancing teaching and learning (in course 2).

Course 1: An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching

An Introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching is a massive open online course designed to prepare aspiring faculty in STEM fields to be more effective teachers through an introduction to evidence-based STEM teaching practices. You will learn about effective teaching strategies and the research that supports them. You’ll then apply your learning to the design of lessons and assignments for use in your future teaching or job application packages. After completing this course, you will be a more informed and confident teacher, equipped for greater success in the classroom.

Topics include: Principles of Learning: Prior Knowledge and Knowledge Organization; Practice, Feedback, and Motivation; Learning Objectives; Assessment of Learning; Active Learning; Inclusive Teaching; Final Project, Peer Review, and Conclusion.

Offered: Summer 2024

Course 2: Advancing Learning through Evidence-Based STEM Teaching

Course 2, Advancing Learning through Evidence-Based STEM Teaching, prepares science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instructors to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and outcomes of both students and teachers. Participants will learn about effective teaching strategies and the research that supports them, including active learning and flipped classroom approaches. While this course builds on Course 1, it is recommended but not required as a prerequisite.

Topics include: Practice and Feedback – Peer Instruction, Problem-Based Learning; Thinking Like a Scientist – Inquiry-Based Labs; Learning Communities – Cooperative Learning, Learning through Diversity; Course Design – The Flipped Classroom;  Principles and Practices – Final Project and Peer Feedback.

Offered: Spring 2024 – Enroll with EdX

These courses draw on the expertise of STEM faculty, educational researchers, and staff from university teaching centers, many of them affiliated with the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning (CIRTL), a network of 42 research universities collaborating in the preparation of graduate students and postdocs as future faculty members. There are opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, both online and locally.

Acknowledgements and Usage

The instructors are releasing most of the learning materials generated for these courses in an open-source manner, so that anyone can re-use and incorporate materials such as videos in new or existing training programs for current and future faculty. Visit the CIRTL MOOCs website to view video content. MOOC development and evaluation research were funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (DUE#: 1347605) to Michigan State University and other partnering CIRTL Network institutions.

The Inclusive STEM Teaching Project

The Inclusive STEM Teaching Project is a 7-week course designed to advance the awareness, self-efficacy, and the ability of faculty, postdocs, and doctoral students to cultivate inclusive STEM learning environments for all their students and to develop themselves as reflective, inclusive practitioners. The Inclusive STEM Teaching Project has been funded under NSF Directorate of Educational and Human Resources and Division of Undergraduate Education grants. Meet the Inclusive STEM Project team

Next offered: Starting March 4, 2024

See Also:

Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom

A non-credit online course from Cornell University’s Center for Teaching Innovation offered as a self-paced on demand EdX MOOC and annually in late spring for Cornell instructors through Canvas, including opportunities for graduate student/postdoc learning communities on inclusive teaching typically co-sponsored with Future Faculty and Academic Careers.

Offered:Summer 2023

The Postdoc Academy

The Postdoc Academy is a comprehensive program built on the National Postdoctoral Association core competencies to support skill development throughout postdoc training, from orientation to next career step. This program consists of two free online courses offered via EdX, and local learning communities built specifically for postdocs (Postdoc Academy Learning Sessions, or PALS).

Course 1: Succeeding as a Postdoc

The first online course, Succeeding as a Postdoc, addresses foundational skills and career planning, establishing the professional habits postdocs will need to strategically prepare for their career and succeed in their postdoc. Topics include: Finding Success as a Postdoc, Exploring and Preparing for a Successful Career, Developing Resilience, and Working Effectively in an Intercultural Environment.

Offered: Spring 2023

Course 2: Building Skills for a Successful Career

The second online course, Building Skills for a Successful Career, focuses on developing advanced skills to help postdocs transition to their chosen career path. During this 7-week course, learners are encouraged to network inside the edX platform with course instructors, career professionals, and postdoc colleagues. Topics include: Exploring Leadership, Building and Supervising a Team, Project Management, Applying Teaching Skills Beyond the Classroom, Strategic Communications, and Finding and Landing the Job.

Offered: Summer 2023

The Postdoc Academy is developed by a team at Boston University, Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Northwestern University, with funding from the National Institutes of Health. Meet the Postdoc Academy team