Western Kentucky University

Basic Skills for College Teaching Program Index

This is outdated as of June 28, 2013. For the new program visit www.wku.edu/cfd


Introduction to the Basic Skills for College Teaching Program


  • Curriculum Overview
  • Program Objectives
  • The Graduate Assistant  Instructor (GAI) Designation at WKU
  • The BSCT Curriculum in Detail
    • Deadlines
    • 1. Individually Paced Online Learning Modules
    • 2. Electives and Other Curricular Requirements of the BSCT
comfy chair in front of fireplace


Welcome to the instructions for the Basic Skills for College Teaching Program (BSCT, pronounced "biscuit") offered through the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET) at Western Kentucky University.

The BSCT comprises a series of learning activities including workshops, seminars, videos, and online modules.

Although it was initially designed to prepare WKU graduate students to assume primary teaching responsibility in the classroom, the BSCT is also appropriate for full- and part-time faculty who seek personal development.


Curriculum Overview

The Basic Skills for College Teaching Program requires successful completion of at least six (6) approved learning "units". Credit for these units is gained by participating in three (3) units of BSCT-approved seminars and completing three (3) required online modules, worth one unit each. The program does not translate into college credit hours; therefore, there is no cost for the program for WKU employees or WKU graduate students. It is a stand alone program to provide you with documentation of training in teaching.

Once you are registered with FaCET, the online modules will be accessible from the Blackboard 'My Organization' Web site (https://blackboard.wku.edu/).

FaCET's BSCT-approved seminars generally average one hour in length but may be longer. Units are awarded for the successful and full participation in a seminar, not by the actual amount of time involved. Some events may be valued at more, or less, than one unit of credit. Note that a maximum of 2 credits can be earned in a single day, even if more opportunities are available, in order to encourage reflection on the material. Also, some BSCT approved seminars are offered more than one time but can only be attended once for credit. Other times an event may be approved only for a particular kind of participant. Watch for an additional notation in the "BSCT: approved" section about special situations and check with your facilitator if you have a question.

Once a total of six approved units (including the three required online modules) have been earned, an enrollee is awarded a Certificate of Completion by FaCET.


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Program Objectives

Exposure to the concepts in the BSCT will increase the likelihood of a successful university teaching experience. In addition, in today's hiring environment, having documentation of teaching skills can provide a competitive advantage in job seeking.

By the end of the program, participants will:

• be exposed to the fundamentals of good practice in teaching;
• Be able to describe specific basic teaching skills and WKU policies;
• be able to write outcomes that communicate the benefits and learning from their course;
• identify activities that explicitly and directly follow from course learning objectives;
• be able to directly assess student learning based on the learning objectives;
• have engaged with experienced teachers in face-to-face workshops;
• have knowledge of core legal and ethical issues in college instruction (optional session).

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The Graduate Assistant Instructor (GAI) Designation at WKU

Successful completion of the BSCT is one component of earning the WKU Graduate Assistant Instructor (GAI) designation.

This GAI designation signifies that a graduate asistant instructor has met all University requirements for serving as the official instructor-of-record.  The Office of Graduate Studies and Research oversees this designation and the additional requirements beyond BSCT. See the link below.

Achieving the Graduate Assistant Instructor designation is an honor and an excellent opportunity for those graduate assistants who aspire to a teaching career in postsecondary education or who wish to excel in their graduate program. You'll need to submit a form to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research (available at their web site) when you finish BSCT. You will also need to provide Graduate Studies with a copy of your vita (For help on writing a vita visit http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/cdc/resumes).

Please consult the appropriate online GAI documents(http://www.wku.edu/graduate/aid/ga/grad_teaching_associate.php) or contact

the WKU Office of Graduate Studies and Research,
207 Wetherby Administration Building
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11010
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1010
(Ph: 1-270-745-2446, graduate.studies@wku.edu)

for complete information.

Note: Only those graduate students who have earned the GAI designation may serve as instructor of record for a course!

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The BSCT Curriculum in Detail

Deadlines: Graduate Students with teaching assignments for the fall term, must be registered and the first assignment must be submitted by June 1, and all of the online module assignments and quizzes successfully completed by June 30 in order to be eligible to be instructor of record for the fall term.

Graduate Students with teaching assignments for the spring term, must be registered and the first assignment must be submitted by November 1, and all of the online module assignments and quizzes successfully completed by January 15 in order to be eligible to be instructor of record for the spring term.

What this means for you is that the online modules are not available for you to work on from July 1 until the first day of fall classes. We use the time for updating the courses and working on other time-urgent projects. BSCT work also may not be graded or quizzes given during the university's winter holiday shut-down.

All work, including completing the three (3) units of seminars, must be completed before a student becomes an instructor of record and be considered to have completed BSCT.

Some seminars may be available during July and early August although we only guarantee holding the "GAI Issues" seminar the Thursday before classes begin in fall.

A. Individually Paced Online Learning Modules

The first three instructional modules are core requirements of the Basic Skills for College Teaching Program. Each one takes about an hour, with another 1 to 2 hours devoted to assignments and assessment. We advise you to complete one module per week.

Each module requires you pass a quiz over the material with at least an 80%. If you do not pass on the first try, you may make a second attempt on a new quiz but you may return no sooner than the next working day to take it. You may not re-take the test on the same day. This rule was instituted after no one passed the test who repeated on the same day. The extra study time seems to be necessary.  

Quizzes are mixed multiple choice, multiple response and short answer. The quizzes are taken at FaCET to protect the security of the quizzes, because we want you to know where FaCET is located and to meet your facilitator at least a few times so you feel able to call on us when you are teaching. You will need to schedule an appointment with your facilitator to take your quiz.

Homework for each module consists of issues you will need to consider for your class before teaching. The tasks are relevant to each module's topic. There are two homework tasks on the first module and one each on the other two modules. You will work with your assigned facilitator to achieve a level of performance that will enable you to be effective with your anticipated students. Typically you forward these assignments as attachments in an e-mail message to the facilitator assigned to you when you register for the program.

Your work is expected to be original to you. Copies of prior participants’ materials are retained in case of dispute.

We do recognize that some of the courses you will teach have a shared syllabus or state certain common requirements. We encourage you to work with a departmental mentor but to respect that mentor's original materials, get permission to use them, and give proper credit for them.

What about an instructor for the online modules?

Besides a departmental mentor, the faculty and staff of FaCET will assist you by answering questions and reviewing your work with you individually. We want you to succeed. Visit the Staff Link to meet your instructors.

How to get started:

1. Contact the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching to register for the Basic Skills for College Teaching Program (270-745-6508; facet@wku.edu) or use the form below. Please provide your name, advisor name( if you have any), department, phone number, and WKU 800 number so we can register you promptly.



2. For the individually paced online modules you will need only:
• a recent Internet browser and reliable Internet access
• a way to save documents in formats readable in MS Word
• the ability to send e-mail, work through Web pages, and enter information in Web forms.

For Western-affiliated individuals taking the course, the computers in the WKU Student Technology Centers are available, with a 24-hour lab in MMTH.

book that is scrolled

3. When you have been given access to the Blackboard BSCT site, work through the modules. We recommend you do the modules in the following order:

  • Organizing for Teaching (required)
  • Activities for Learning (required)
  • Assessment for Learning (required)
  • Legal & Ethical Issues in Teaching (optional but strongly recommended)

Bibliography for workshops for more information.


B. Electives and Other Curricular Requirements of the BSCT

In addition to successfully completing the three (3) required online modules above, you must earn at least three (3) additional units chosen from an approved list of elective activities.

These may include face-to-face workshops, seminars, and videos among others.

The approved curriculum changes each semester so it is important that you view the most current version of the Curriculum Guide (http://www.wku.edu/teaching/events.php) available from FaCET or call 5-6508.

Particular requirements for the approved elective activities

1. You must complete at least two units of face-to-face activities such as seminars and workshops.

2. You may include one approved instructional video, viewed at FaCET, with reflective follow-up essay required or one Curriculum Guide approved FaCET online seminar, with reflective follow-up essay required.

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a) If you choose the additional online seminar, you must also post at least two meaningful comments during the e-mail discussion portion of the session.

b) The original essay required for the video and additional online seminar must be submitted within one week of the end of the session. It will be evaluated by FaCET staff and must demonstrate an acceptable level of effort and personal reflection in addressing these basic questions:

What was the most important part of the video/workshop and why?

Give an example of how this might apply to your teaching.


3. Substitutions: Occasionally there will be a suitable activity sponsored by the university, your academic department, or professional organization that you will wish to substitute as an elective unit in the BSCT.

In this case, your written request, brochures, and any other explanatory material must be presented at FaCET at least two weeks before the date of the proposed activity.

A committee at FaCET will decide if a substitution can be made and assign an appropriate "unit" value to it. Only one (1) substitution will be accepted for credit.


Please contact FaCET with any questions you may have about the Basic Skills for College Teaching Program.

Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching
1906 College Heights Blvd. #11095
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1095.

Or visit 1783 Chestnut (Directions at http://www.wku.edu/teaching/about_facet/map_directions.php)

Ph: 1-270-745-6508, facet@wku.edu

Prior to signing up you may visit an open-access example at Legal Issues in Instruction and our Bibliography for the program.

The Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching
facet@wku.edu -- Phone (270) 745-6508 -- Fax (270) 745-6145.
Location:1783 Chestnut Street, Bowling Green, KY 42101.
Mailing Address: 1906 College Heights Blvd #11095, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1095.
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