Take Action for Student Learning (TASL)

In Summer 2020, TASL begins on June 1 and ends on June 30.

Take Action for Student Learning (TASL) is a free, non-credit, entirely online course that is open to full-time Penn State faculty of any rank/status who are currently teaching or who have done so recently. TASL replaces the Summer Course in College Teaching for Faculty and is offered only during the summer.

This four-week, largely asynchronous, online course provides an opportunity for faculty from all disciplines to apply the Decoding the Disciplines framework to engage, motivate, and foster deep learning in their students. Participants will identify a teaching challenge or particular course topic with which students typically struggle. And they will discuss and apply research- and evidence-based effective teaching and assessment methods to address that teaching challenge.

In addition to logging into Canvas and participating in the activities posted there, there will be three live meetings via Zoom on Tuesday, June 2, 9, and 16 from 1 - 3:00 p.m.

Course Structure and Assignments

The course is broken into three asynchronous online modules, each of which may take up to two hours to complete, and three, two-hour Zoom meetings for a total of 12 contact hours.

Faculty are eligible to earn a completion certificate by

  1. participating in all online activities and weekly discussion forums;
  2. attending at least two of three synchronous Zoom sessions; and
  3. successfully completing three certificate assignments
    1. a draft of a learning activity and corresponding assessment
    2. peer edit of a learning activity and corresponding assessment
    3. final draft of a learning activity and corresponding assessment

While this course does not serve as a formal “certification” process, it does provide you with documentation of your participation in it. This certificate may be included in your teaching portfolio as evidence of your professional development as an instructor.

Course Objectives

  1. Apply effective principles of course design and planning
  2. Integrate teaching and assessment strategies that enhance student learning
  3. Reflect on their beliefs and practices about teaching and learning
  4. Develop an intervention to address an identified problem area for student learning


TASL is open to Penn State faculty of any rank/status who are currently teaching or who have done so recently. Those with no previous teaching experience should take the Instructional Foundations Series.

Reading Materials

There is no required textbook. Brief, weekly readings will be provided in Canvas instead.


Here's what past TASLers say about the course.

"This experience enabled me to gain resources, receive feedback, and force me to re-think what I was doing and to make intentional, concentrated efforts to improve my instruction."

"I enjoyed participating in the course and learned much from not only the material presented in the course, but also from the design of the course itself."

"Loved the structure of it all to make me productive over the summer!"

To Apply

Apply before 5:00 p.m. on May 8.

Successful applicants will be notified by 5:00 p.m. on May 15.


TASL is facilitated by Larkin Hood and Adam Smith.

Please contact one of the course facilitators with your questions about the course.