Why teach together?

We usually say so much about the value of collaboration. Despite us saying this, our teaching is still far too alone. Covid-19 gave us a kick that reduced our barriers and led to lasting changes in how we taught (eventually leading to this very course).

Open Science / FAIR data is heavily emphazised these days. But let’s add a “C” to FAIR: “collaborative”. Instead of people doing their own thing and releasing, develop, iterate, and maintain collaboratively.

Ways to teach together

  • Develop materials together - avoid duplication.

  • Team teaching

  • Extensive use of helpers and team leaders.

  • HackMD for parallel and mass answers.


  • You need to teach anyway, less effort if you combine.

  • If done right, minimal extra effort for others to receive benefit (+ you get publicity).

  • Many of the previously presented teaching strategies work best in large courses - this makes the course more engaging than a small event with minimal interaction.

  • More engaging for the audience.

  • Easier on-boarding of new instructors (less “scary” to teach a new course with other instructors).

Challenges and disadvantages

  • Coordination

    • Finding suitable partners with the same vision

    • Coordination efforts (if others don’t understand the vision).

  • Materials

    • May not be perfectly tuned to your own audience

    • May not iterate as fast as you need

  • Co-teaching

    • Difficulty in finding co-teachers

    • Required effort of syncing among staff

    • It might revert to independent teaching if you aren’t careful.

  • HackMD

    • Can possibly overload both student and teacher.


What similarities do we have?

Using HackMD, make two lists:

  • What courses do you think your local community would benefit from, which you don’t currently have? +1 other people’s items which are also relevant to you.

  • Which courses are you thinking of preparing for your local community? +1 other people’s items which you would be interested in helping out with.

See also