June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
New Engineering Educators
11.670.1 - 11.670.11
Graduate Students as Co-Instructors for an Undergraduate Course: Implementation and Assessment
This work suggests one method to fully expose graduate students to the demands of teaching an undergraduate course under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. The students, called co-instructors, interact with the supervisor on various levels from course design to the grading schemes. Based on the feed back received from the students, it was concluded that this type of interaction provided a useful learning experience for both the undergraduate students and the co-instructors.
The primary purpose of an engineering college, especially at the undergraduate level, is to provide effective instruction in subject matter through the stimulation and motivation of students . Accordingly, it makes sense that those selected to teach undergraduate students should be trained properly for this function. Unfortunately, while most candidates applying for openings have little teaching experience, the institutions that are looking to hire prospective faculty expect their candidates to be “teaching ready”. Adding to this problem is that the teaching experience that graduate students receive is quite different across the nation. For example, some graduate students are just used to grade homework and examinations, while others run homework recitations and a third group handles the laboratory. All of these experiences are quite unique and, at some level, a newly-hired faculty member is expected to be proficient in all of these areas.
The status and nature of training graduate students for teaching is itself a topic of its own right.  There have been several suggestions for training doctoral-level candidates for teaching. However, in the engineering arena, most of the efforts concentrate on training graduate teaching assistants (TA) in aiding the full-time faculty during a particular course, as has been previously mentioned. A unique way to address this problem has been put forth very recently by both Purdue University and Virginia Tech . At each of these institutions, a graduate student can enroll in an Engineering Education program and receive their Ph. D. in this area. Such students are exposed to every aspect of engineering education from educational principles to various teaching methods. However, these students are not being trained in a so-called “technical area” within their discipline and, hence, it is unknown at this point how effective such training will be in landing a tenure- track faculty position. Another way to educate graduate students who plan to enter academia is through a formal course during their graduate studies. Universities such as South Carolina and West Virginia offer these classes as an elective course in their respective Chemical Engineering departments. There are also TA instructional programs that are provided in the form of teaching seminars, workshops, language tutorials for newly appointed international TAs, etc . Additionally, there are also programs such as Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) at the University of Cincinnati, whose goal is to
Swaminathan, S., & Baburao, B., & Visco, D. (2006, June), Graduate Students As Co Instructors For An Undergraduate Course: Implementation And Assessment Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/629
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