Undergraduate Teaching

LPL TeachingTeaching at PTYS/LPL

Most PTYS classes are taught by ranked faculty, all of whom have distinguished records of achievement in planetary research. Thus, your PTYS instructor is likely to be a Principal Investigator on a NASA space mission or a guest observer at one of the world's premier ground-based, airborne, or Earth-orbiting telescopes, or maybe even a University dean or department head. 

Their experience will enrich classroom presentations and create many interesting opportunities for one-on-one discussions with students. Most PTYS courses are assigned a graduate teaching assistant to assist students with course work and to lead optional discussion and review sessions. Some PTYS courses use undergraduate preceptors to provide peer assistance with class activities. 

General education courses with large enrollments don’t have to be impersonal experiences for students. PTYS instructors are integrating collaborative learning activities and hands-on research projects into their courses in preparation for new university-wide general education requirements. Rather than listening passively to a lecture, students engage with one another while carrying learning activities.


As part of the Teaching Teams Programs, preceptors are most often students who are concurrently enrolled in the courses in which they serve on teaching teams. Consequently, their ability to be content experts is limited to their “just-in-time” command of the course material. On the other hand, undergraduates can be natural, effective facilitators, communicators, and listeners when given a chance to show other students how to learn and how to teach each other.