Chapter 5: Team Teaching

Team teaching is perhaps the best way to ensure that students are exposed in meaningful ways to the multiple lenses from which problems can be viewed and to the value of incorporating the differing viewpoints. This chapter focuses on team teaching in project-based courses, with tips and suggestions for forming productive and effective team-teaching pairs. Team teaching also leads to unexpected scholarship on both content of the courses and the method of teaching.


samples of scholarship resulting from team teaching

Faculty have published in a range of venues, using lessons gleaned from their collaborative efforts in the PBL classroom.

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A model for translational science in undergraduate classrooms, Marja H Bakermans and Geoff Pfeifer, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2018).

  • WPI faculty Marja H. Bakermans (Biology) and Geoff Pfeifer (Philosophy) were very excited to see that the work their students were doing was exactly what one journal—Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment—was explicitly calling for. They responded with a quick letter demonstrating how they were working with undergraduate students to provide opportunities for translational work in the first year of college.

The Theatre of Humanitarian Engineering, DiBiasio, David; Paula Quinn, Kristin Boudreau, Laura A. Robinson, John M. Sullivan, John Bergendahl, and Leslie Dodson (2017). ASEE Annual Conference.

  • Designed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty from engineering and the humanities, “The Theatre of Humanitarian Engineering” is an experimental role-playing game (RPG) course that puts students imaginatively into a complex nineteenth-century context as they consider how to provide a waste management solution for an expanding urban population. By putting students in the roles of actual people living in a turn-of-the-century industrial city in central Massachusetts, this RPG allows students to reflect on economic, geographical, economic, and philosophical issues while learning the technical skills they need to make informed decisions to address the needs of a rapidly expanding population.

The Great Problems Seminars: Connecting Students with External Stakeholders in Project-Based Approaches to Sustainable Development Education in the First Year, Pfeifer Geoff and Rosbach Derren In: Leal Filho W. and Brandli L. (eds) Engaging Stakeholders in Education for Sustainable Development at University Level. World Sustainability Series. Springer, Cham, (2016)


presentations resulting from team teaching

Lessons learned while team teaching also serve as the starting point for conference presentations. See a range of potential venues below.

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Team teachers can present scholarship on innovations in teaching and learning that they have developed together in the classroom. The following are a few examples of the organizations, conferences, and publication venues for scholarship on innovative undergraduate teaching and learning: American Association of Colleges and Universities, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Project Kaleidoscope, and Consortium of Equity Conferences.

Team teachers can also present scholarship drawn from the teaching and scholarly relationship in their disciplinary fields. Examples include environmental education, science education, humanities education, and engineering education.