June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1411.1 - 26.1411.15
Student and Teaching Assistant Perspectives on Characteristics of an Effective Teaching AssistantIn addition to their research and coursework responsibilities, many graduate students are placedin the role of teaching assistant. Theoretically, this position will benefit both the student and thedepartment by allowing the graduate student to gain valuable classroom experience while fillinga teaching need in the sponsoring department. However, in practice, these experiences can rangefrom rewarding to challenging for both the teaching assistants and the students under their care.These challenges raise an important question, what are the characteristics of an effective teachingassistant? In assessing teaching effectiveness, both the affective and cognitive domains must betaken into account. This study seeks to address the affective aspect for both students andteaching assistants by assessing their perceptions of what makes an effective teaching assistant.As such, the objectives of this study are to examine any gaps between student and teachingassistant perceptions, assess differences between different types of teaching assistant roles (i.e.lab vs. lecture), and compare the results to accepted best practices from literature and thepersonal experience of experienced teaching assistants. Surveys consisting of Likert scale andopen-ended questions were given to teaching assistants and students. The study utilized mixedmethods with descriptive statistics used to assess the Likert results and a qualitative analysis ofthe open-ended questions to determine common themes. Since teaching assistant roles can varywidely, several different types of classes were assessed within the environmental and waterresources engineering curriculum. Both laboratory and lecture courses were assessed withstudents of varying grade levels. Better understanding of student and teaching assistantexpectations can provide valuable insight towards the design of graduate teaching assistanttraining and support programs to help foster a more beneficial and positive experience for boththe teaching assistants and their students.
Christenson, D., & Baldwin, D., & Brundrett, M. M., & Monaco, P. A., & Nguyen, K. A., & Morse, A. N. (2015, June), Student and Teaching Assistant Perspectives on Characteristics of an Effective Teaching Assistant Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24748
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