Teaching Support

What is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is a multidisciplinary field focused on the systematic creation of learning experiences. This work relies on the science of teachingthe science of learning, and emerging best practices to develop effective and engaging experiences. While instructional designers consult on the development, delivery, and evaluation of teaching, they do not assess the quality of the content. The subject matter expert chooses the “what” of learning, and the instructional designer advises on the “how” of learning. 

CTRL’s Teaching Support Team has instructional designers who can discuss all your teaching-related needs. We can help you develop learning experiences, discuss evidence-based pedagogical practices, or brainstorm strategies to enhance your teaching. The following is a partial list of topics we can offer insight on:

  • Course and program design
  • Learning outcome development
  • Assessments and assignment design
  • Use of rubrics
  • Facilitation techniques and instructional strategies
  • Evaluations; formative and summative
  • Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)
  • Teaching portfolio development

Teaching Resources


The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning (CTRL) is committed to fostering an inclusive community of faculty at American University and is continuously working on helping faculty develop skills that serve the goals outlined in AU’s Plan for Inclusive Excellence.

One-on-One Consultations

Interested in a more personalized conversation about your course? Build on your successes in the classroom with a private consultation with a Teaching Support team member. We can discuss all teaching-related questions or ideas you have, including how to incorporate innovative teaching techniques in an authentic way to your teaching style, and can brainstorm about other enhancements for your course.

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (NCFDD)

American University’s institutional NCFDD membership provides faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars with professional development, training, and mentorship opportunities. NCFDD offers a wide range of virtual programs to help you enhance your productivity, increase your sense of well-being, and connect to a larger academic community.

Open Educational Resources

OER are available in a wide variety of disciplines, academic levels, and formats including textbooks, online quizzes, instructional modules, assignments, articles, interactive simulations, and image, video, and audio files.

Creating a System of Peer Observation of Teaching

Interested in participating in Peer Observation? Want to research how to make it the most impactful? Take a look at this PDF guide for some ideas to integrate into your own process.


The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) describes research in which we systematically assess our teaching practices.

CTRL Zotero Library

CTRL is happy to provide access to our team’s Zotero Library. Zotero is a citation management software for collecting research. Feel free to contact CTRL for question or suggestions for this research repository.

Syllabus Guide

This Syllabus Guide includes items commonly included in course syllabi. You can view any of the individual topics for more detailed information and copy and paste the information into your syllabus as you see fit.

Teaching Portfolio Guide

A teaching portfolio provides an in-depth documentation of teaching that will allow you to showcase and contextualized your teaching, situated within your department, school, and field. Based upon the Beyond SETs Task Force’s work, there is a number of items you can include in your portfolio. CTRL has created guides that will be periodically updated to reflect best practices.

Midsemester Feedback Services

As we approach the midterm of the semester our students have a clear understanding of how our courses are structured and what to expect. This is the perfect time to elicit formative feedback from students. The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning (CTRL) is available to facilitate a discussion with your students and provide you with a Midsemester Course Analysis.

Online Learning Course

Are you teaching an online course next semester or in the near future? The Online Learning Instructor Course is a great place to start. Join CTRL staff and your fellow faculty members to begin crafting the foundations of your online course.

CTRL Teaching Tips

This is our invitation to you to explore a collection of topics that can help enrich your teaching each. These resources are grouped in four categories to help you find the content that is most applicable: Preparing to Teach, Assessing Student Learning, Teaching Strategies, and Tech Tools.

Green Teaching

Learn about becoming a Certified Green Teacher or just get a few ideas of how to improve your classroom sustainability.