June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Design in Engineering Education
12.433.1 - 12.433.8
Curricular Middle Management: The Role of a Graduate Student Instructor in a Senior-Level Design Course
The traditional responsibilities of a graduate student instructor (GSI) usually consist of a combination of activities meant to aid the primary instructor for the course and to reinforce the material that is being delivered in lecture. Creating and grading homework sets, supervising labs, meeting with students in discussion sessions, and grading exams are a few of the many different tasks that a GSI must undertake throughout a typical semester. However, when a GSI is involved in a team-based, senior-level design course, s/he must assume a different role and make use of a totally different set of skills in order to be an effective member of the teaching staff.
Team-based design courses are an important part of engineering education since they provide students with many of the skills they will need when they enter the workforce. Due to the nature of these courses, the methods with which they are taught can be very unique. The roles that the instructors play in the course are also different from what is normally found in a more traditional course. The main instructor no longer provides large quantities of factual information; rather, s/he provides practical knowledge that the students can apply to their course projects. In addition, the graduate student instructor (GSI) must also take on new roles. These new roles must be more conducive to an open-format course and should teach the students how to function effectively in a team. In addition, these new styles of teaching can help prepare the GSI for a future career in academia when combined with previous methods1 - 3. This paper will focus on what comprises these new roles for a GSI by presenting several different strategies and functions that s/he must perform.
2.0 The Various Roles of a GSI in a Design Course
This section will discuss some of the various roles that a GSI must occupy throughout the term of a design course. These roles are:
Mentor Educational Psychologist Confidant Colleague
2.1 GSI as Mentor
The first and most important function of a GSI in a design course is to act as a mentor to the students. The GSI has likely had a great deal of experience with working in teams from his/her recent educational experiences and can draw upon this knowledge when meeting with students. Student teams often have a hard time deciding what the focus of their project will be and the GSI can offer advice on what topics are the most interesting and important. In addition, s/he can
Ringenberg, J., & Soloway, E., & Chesney, D. (2007, June), Curricular Middle Management: The Role Of A Graduate Student Instructor In A Senior Level Design Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2411
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