If you ask a postdoc: “Have you ever been thrown into cold water – and if so: when?” They would probably answer: “Yes, I was asked to teach.” Teaching is a key element of an academic’s job, yet training opportunities are comparatively rare. In an effort to address this need within the postdoc community, the Leibniz PostDoc Network decided to organize a two-day course on didactics in higher education called “Fit for Teaching” together with Dr. Sandra Linke from the ‘International Centre for Innovation in Education.’ The training aimed to provide our 18 postdoc attendees, who were allocated a spot, with a toolbox of methods and strategies when it comes to design a course, align aims and methods or create a stimulating and engaging atmosphere in lectures and seminars.
After two intense days that contained a well-balanced mix of theoretical input and practical sessions, the participants concluded rather enthusiastically that this was “One of the best courses I’ve ever had!” and mentioned “This was a great experience, and I learned a lot! I met great colleagues and enjoyed the format and content of the course very much. Sandra is just great and responds to all individual needs during the course and in personal communications in the email. Thanks a lot for everything!“. One of the benefits mentioned in particular was the diverse group: “I really enjoyed the course and have learned a lot of things about teaching. The instructor is very passionate and helpful. The diverse group of participants and lively discussions are great!”. The course also seemed to be a good role model itself: “This was a great course, as Sandra taught by example. Many best practices and techniques that were covered she also implemented in the course itself (e.g., creating a welcoming atmosphere, connecting personally with students, practicing good communication, repeating content, offering breaks, I could go on). From small tips to the broader approach, I will try to put as much into practice as possible when teaching.”
We are happy the course was taken up so well and hit our postdocs’ needs. A big ‘Thank you!’ goes to the Leibniz Association, which has kindly funded the workshop. Surely, this was not the last course of such kind, and we look forward to further supporting the professional development of our postdocs. Watch out for our emails in the future!
(Sina Fackler | LIfBi)
P.S. If you want to get involved in the Leibniz PostDoc Network and maybe even help organize such courses in the future, please drop us a message!