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The Influence of a College Teaching Workshop Series on Teaching Assistant Perceptions of Preparedness and Self-efficacy

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Training and Mentoring of Graduate Teaching Assistants

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1315.1 - 25.1315.17



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Paper Authors


Kevin Andrew Richards Purdue University

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K. Andrew Richards is a doctoral student studying physical education pedagogy at Purdue University. He received his B.S. in physical education from Springfield College (Mass.) and an M.S. from Purdue University prior to beginning doctoral studies. Richards has taught several physical education teacher education courses at Purdue and is involved in the supervision of student teachers in health and physical education. His research interests relate to teacher preparation and continuing professional development. Specifically, Richards's Master’s thesis examined the impact of continuing professional development through a PEP Grant and state mandated induction assistance on the socialization of a physical education teacher. He has also co-authored multiple papers and conference presentations related to physical education teacher professional development.

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Juan Diego Velasquez Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Juan Diego Velasquez, Assistant Director for TA and Curricular Development, Ph.D., (industrial engineering). Velasquez received his Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Purdue University, where he worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the honors program in the School of Engineering Education. He joined the Center for Instructional Excellence in 2004. He currently coordinates university-wide initiatives for graduate teaching assistants (annual all-campus teaching orientation, annual campus recognition of graduate teaching excellence, and teaching certification programs), supports service-learning university-wide efforts (Community of Service-learning Faculty Fellows), and oversees the professional development of CIE’s graduate assistants. Velasquez is Co-chair of the Committee for the Education of Teaching Assistants. He is an Associate Fellow of Purdue’s Teaching Academy and a Senior Researcher in the Production, Robotics, and Integration Software for Manufacturing and Management (PRISM) Center in the School of Industrial Engineering. He serves in the HUB-Empowered Cyber Reach Engineering Committee and the Colombia-Purdue Institute for Advanced Scientific Research Committee. Juan has published several articles on the application of best-matching protocols in production settings (industrial engineering) and collaborated in the publication of Springer’s Handbook of Automation (Springer, 2009).

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Lindsey B. Payne Purdue University

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Lindsey Payne received her M.S. in ecological sciences and engineering from Purdue University while working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for CIE. She is currently a Teaching Assistant for civil engineering. In the fall of 2010, she took on the role of Assistant Campus Coordinator for Service-learning, providing administrative support in coordinating service-learning efforts on and off Purdue University’s campus with the goal to institutionalize service-learning into the academic fiber of the campus. In this position, she works to enhance and expand partnerships in engagement among faculty, staff, students, and community partners, and consults with faculty in matters related to service-learning. This year, along with PI Dr. Velasquez, she was awarded two service engagement grants from Indiana Campus Compact totally nearly $10,000. Payne has also co-coordinated CIE’s all-campus teaching assistant program, and organized the all-campus Scholarship of Engagement Conference in October of 2010. She also co-developed and presented “Creating Your Online Presence: Developing Your E-Portfolio” and “Teaching in the Laboratory” workshops for the College Teaching Workshop Series, and has presented College Teaching Workshop Series: Basics of Teaching and “Presenting at Scientific Conferences” to Purdue University’s Women in Science.

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The Influence of a College Teaching Workshop Series on Teaching Assistant Perceptions of Preparedness and Self-EfficacyIntroduction: At large, research-intensive institutions, graduate students are often providedfunding as teaching assistants (TAs) and asked to lead instruction in undergraduate classes1.While many of these TAs have the content knowledge to lead instruction, those who lack abackground in education may not have the pedagogical knowledge and pedagogical contentknowledge necessary to teach effectively2. In order to provide TAs with the skills required toteach at the college level, universities coordinate seminars and programming focused on bestpractices and effective pedagogy3. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the impactof the College Teaching Workshop Series-I (CTW-I), a semester-long series of 10 seminars onthe development of perceived preparedness to teach and self-efficacy in TAs at a large, researchintensive university in the American Midwest.Materials and Methods: 305 graduate students participated in the CTW-I series over the courseof three semesters (fall 2010, spring 2011, and summer 2011). Their backgrounds were diverseand included representation from all 11 colleges on the university campus. Topics coveredduring the seminar included the following: student-teacher relationships, syllabus construction,course design, presentation techniques, practice teaching, feedback and instructor evaluation,discussion techniques, objective test design, subjective test design and grading, and preventingand responding to cheating. Each seminar was constructed to contain a combination of lecture,discussion, and activities where participants were provided with opportunities to interact withone another as well as the presenters. Prior to each seminar, participants were asked to completea pre-survey which evaluated their perceived ability to address the issues outlined in thatparticular session. At the end of the session, a post-evaluation sought to measure the degree towhich the students’ perceived preparedness and self-efficacy had changed, as well as theiroverall impressions of the workshops. Finally, a summative evaluation was administered at theend of each semester to determine the global impact of the seminars. All survey measures wereapproved through the university’s IRB protocols.Results and Discussion: Results of the study indicated that participants’ perceived preparednessto teach and self-efficacy increased as a result of participating in the seminars (see Figure 1 forexample from fall of 2010 data). Statistical analysis revealed that participants generally believedthat they were more prepared to implement the content in their own teaching after participatingin the seminars (p<.05). They also reported enjoying the seminar presentations and theopportunity to improve their teaching skills. Written comments at the end of the surveys revealedthat students were able to cite concrete examples of pedagogical strategies that they intended toimplement in their own future teaching.Conclusion: Overall, this study demonstrated that TA preparedness and self-efficacy forteaching can be influenced through seminars on best practices in pedagogy and teachingeffectiveness. The participants found the experiences to be rewarding and engaging and manybelieved that seminars provided them with concrete tools that they would be able to apply intheir own classroom settings. Perceptions of CTW1 Workshops (1-5) by Self-Reported Participants FALL 2010 Perceptions of CTW1 Workshops (6-10) by Self-Reported Participants FALL 2010 4.53 4.63 CTW1-10 CTW1-5 4.37 3.74 4.68 4.47 4.74 4.37 4.42 4.00 4.68 4.321 4.53 4.63 CTW1-4 CTW1-9 2.78 3.68 4.58 4.47 4.34 4.37 Workshop Workshop 4.10 4.00 4.40 4.32 4.50 4.36 CTW1-3 CTW1-8 3.07 3.93 4.31 4.43 4.14 4.36 3.94 4.08 4.09 4.25 4.63 4.61 CTW1-2 CTW1-7 4.22 4.21 4.56 4.64 4.48 4.48 4.22 4.04 4.38 4.38 4.59 3.81 CTW1-6 CTW1-1 3.86 4.43 4.28 4.23 4.45 4.00 4.00 4.16 4.19 4.74 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 4.00 5.00 Mean Value Mean Value I plan to incorporate ideas from this workshop into my teaching. I plan to incorporate ideas from this workshop into my teaching. My interactions with other participants enhanced my learning. My interactions with other participants enhanced my learning. I learned valuable ideas from the facilitators. I learned valuable ideas from the facilitators. The organization of the workshop helped me to understand the content. The organization of the workshop helped me to understand the content. This workshop has increased my confidence in my teaching skills. This workshop has increased my confidence in my teaching skills. Overall, I would rate this workshop as... Overall, I would rate this workshop as...Figure 1: Teaching assistant perceptions of participating in CTW-I workshops during the fall of 2010. Responses to questionswere on a 5-point Likert-type scale. Topics covered during the workshops include: student-teacher relationships (CTW1-1), syllabusconstruction (CTW1-2), course design (CTW1-3), presentation techniques (CTW1-4), practice teaching (CTW1-5), feedback andinstructor evaluation (CTW1-6), discussion techniques (CTW1-7), objective test design (CTW1-8), subjective test design and grading(CTW1-9), and preventing and responding to cheating (CTW1-10).References:1. Allen, R., and T. Rueter, Teaching assistant strategies: In introduction to college teaching, Dubuque, IA: Kendall-Hunt, 1990.2. Boice, R., First-order principles for college teachers: Ten basic ways to improve the teaching process, Boston, MA: Anker, 1996.3. Zahorski, K. J. (Ed.), To improve the academy: Resources for student, faculty, and instructional development (Vol. 10), Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press, 1991.

Richards, K. A., & Velasquez, J. D., & Payne, L. B. (2012, June), The Influence of a College Teaching Workshop Series on Teaching Assistant Perceptions of Preparedness and Self-efficacy Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22072

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