Team-Teaching: Teaching Guide

Adapted from the BU CAS Team_Teaching_Policy


Team-teaching (also often called “collaborative teaching”) is an opportunity to expose students to more perspectives and content knowledge than a single instructor may be able to provide.  Co-teaching can also be a rewarding experience for faculty, who often learn more about the subject matter, different disciplinary approaches, and teaching in general as a result of developing and leading a course with a colleague.

Collaborative teaching can take a variety of forms, ranging from inviting a colleague to give a one-time guest lecture, to dividing responsibilities according to content areas, to working together on every aspect of the course.

Collaborative teaching is a natural fit for interdisciplinary courses, in which two instructors represent different disciplinary perspectives.  However, it could also be beneficial in any course which relies on a diversity of viewpoints, or in service-learning courses, in which faculty could partner with community leaders to extend the students’ learning beyond the classroom (Plank, Idea Paper 55).

Team-taught courses require different preparation than courses taught by a single instructor.  Even if two (or more) faculty divide the responsibilities for the course, each instructor should be prepared to explain the overarching framework of the course and to help students understand the connections between topics and assignments.  In terms of course organization, each instructor should be able to explain the policies and expectations, as well as the rationale for team-teaching, to students.

Several considerations:

How will class be run?  Will faculty tag-team (i.e., each instructor covers separate topics) or be equal co-partners in the planning and teaching of every class session?

How will students be assessed?  If the faculty represent different disciplines, what are the expectations for work in the fields, and how will those expectations be reconciled or otherwise reflected in the assignments?  Will faculty cross-grade, divide each pile, etc.?

Examples of team taught courses at BU:

Bob Dylan: Music and Words”- Jeremy Yudkin of CFA and Kevin Barents (Writing Program) of CAS

“Business Analytic Foundations” – Vladimir Zlatev, Roman Rabinovich, & David Ritt, MET

“Core” course at Questrom

“Data Mining for Business Analytics”Vladimir Zlatev, Greg Page, Penko Ivanov, & Slav Angelov, MET

“History, Literature, Film and Science of Baseball” – Andy Andres (natural science and mathematics), Chris Fahy (humanities), Thomas Whalen (social sciences), CGS

Interdisciplinary Introduction to Gender and Sexuality” – Ashley Mears (sociology), Carrie Preston (English), & Karen Warkentin (biology), KCH

“Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Challenges: Global Health” – Chris Gill (SPH), Carrie Preston (KCH), & Muhammad Zaman (ENG) 

“Introduction to Language Disorders Across the Lifespan” – Magdalen Balz and Karole Howland, SAR

“Irish in Boston” – Sally K. Sommers Smith (natural sciences and mathematics), Megan Sullivan (rhetoric), Meg Tyler (humanities), Thomas Whalen (social sciences), CGS

“Special Topics in History and Theory of Music” – Jamie Hillman, CFA, and Andre de Quadros, MET

“Trauma in History, Art, and Religion” – Ellen DeVoe of SSW, Joshua Pederson (humanities) of CGS, & Shelly Rambo of STH

Additional resources: