I am getting close to finishing a PhD in applied math (next May), and I'm starting to think about job applications next fall. I taught for 5 years as a GTA (graduate teaching assistant), but I still feel like my teaching portfolio could use a boost since the last 2 years of my degree I was funded on a research grant. One idea I cooked up was to create and publish a series of Khan-academy style "screen-cast" lectures on various interesting topics in mathematics. Since this could potentially consume a fair amount of time, I'm wondering what the benefit of it would actually be for an application to say, a teaching post-doc or tenure track at a SLAC (selective liberal arts college) or (not R1) public university. Obviously if they're good, it demonstrates an ability to clearly organize and present material, but would anyone actually look at them if they saw it on a CV or in a teaching statement?

  • The value of such courses may be judged, among other factors, by quantifiable metrics such as how many views they get.
    – Harry
    Mar 22, 2017 at 16:52
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    would anyone actually look at them if they saw it on a CV or in a teaching statement? — Yes. I would.
    – JeffE
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:47
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    Don't make them in order to strengthen your applications. If you make them, do it because people need them and they are useful. Also, set yourself some time boundaries so they don't suck away too much of your time. But by all means, do experiment with this to some extent. It will broaden your horizons and help you connect with people in ways that take advantage of your particular temperament. (I read your other recent questions.) Mar 23, 2017 at 6:25

1 Answer 1


I would advise against doing this, even without knowledge of tghe hiring processes in SLACs (never heard about those before) or the universities you're interested in.

On principle, it does not make sense to have projects in life whose main or only purpose is make your CV look better. If you're passionate enough about this to do it for its own sake - say, because you feel available material is not engaging enough and you had good feedback from your students - then maybe it could be a reasonable use of your time. Otherwise, your days are better doing proper research, or other publicly-visible math-related projects which are of interest to you.

Also, if you got good feedback on your teaching, I doubt your focus on research will be held against you, especially since you do have a solid 3 years. Perhaps some letter of recommendation from professors/lecturers who were in charge of the courses in which you taught could serve as guarantee of your capabilities.

  • Not sure I agree. I imagine a demonstrated ability to produce good digital instruction would interest a lot of hiring committees. Jan 28, 2018 at 17:46

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