|助教 (Teaching Assistant, TA)||助学 (Learning Assistant, LA)|
|相关课程||2016 BIOS 正在招募TA||ACB 正在招募LA|
Lectures don’t work. This is a scientific fact. Over 1300 peer-reviewed publications in the literature now verify it. Although this truth has largely gone unnoticed by faculty, the average student is very much aware of the ineptitude of lectures. When properly surveyed, students will regularly point out that lectures are inefficient, boring, and ineffective. In the last decade and a half, a new paradigm for teaching and learning has emerged, a system called scientific teaching. In scientific teaching, the process of learning is treated as a scientific subject. For any class or student audience, education experiments are conducted to devise the most effective system for students to learn.
In the United States, the National Academy of Sciences and the Howard Hughes foundation are the two main institutions that have been at the forefront of promoting scientific teaching. Especially for science classes, a system known as active learning has emerged as one of the most effective and powerful pedagogical concepts. Active learning is an alternative to lectures, a system in which students are presented with various problem-solving situations to apply their knowledge instead of simply memorize. This TA/LA program is a very direct, coordinated, and concerted effort to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn these latest teaching systems.
The TA program is specifically designed to train teaching assistants (TAs). The incorporation of TAs can be of immense value for education reform. One of the critical ingredients in the education reform has been the training of undergraduate teaching assistants. In addition to helping to share the large amount of work required to promote education reform, a tangible student training program offers other important benefits.
First, it allows the students to learn cutting-edge pedagogical techniques, something that will be of great value later in their careers, regardless of whether they pursue research or teaching as their preferred occupation.
Second, it allows students to participate more directly in the design and execution of courses taken by their peers. This allows for a more direct, “ground zero” perspective on what students need and what mechanisms should be used to deliver these needs. This puts students who participate in the program in a very powerful position to directly affect their own curriculum as well as the curriculum of their peers.
Finally, the creation of a structured training program gives an academic institution important access to well-trained teaching assistants that can be employed for multiple purposes, even those not initially devised to include scientific teaching. This creates an important synergistic effect that helps to reinforce the spread of more effective pedagogy throughout the campus.
Summary of important benefits:
|Learn the principles of scientific teaching
Practice designing more effective classes
Learn the active learning system
Learn how to make proper assessment tools
Practice using assessment tools
Improve the level of teaching for their peers
Collect real assessment data for eventual use in education publications
|Increase pool of qualified instructors
Improve existing classes and create new, more effective classes
Promote synergy between students and faculty
Facilitate more student input into class and curriculum design
Provide the workforce to collect sufficient data for education publications
Learning goals: 2016 BIOS TAs
From the student’s perspective, there are many things they will learn in this program.
The first is a strong, foundational understanding of the principles of scientific teaching. Students will not only be given data and analysis to support the efficacy of scientific teaching, they will also have the important opportunity to debate the merits based on their own personal experiences as students.
The second thing students will learn is the skill of actually developing classes designed using scientific teaching. This segment of the training program will involve a workshop approach where students in groups will actually design class activities using scientific teaching.
The third thing students will learn is the importance and applicability of active learning. As before, students will be presented with data and analysis that proves the effectiveness of active learning. Then, students will learn the process of how to make active learning classes and curriculum. Like for scientific teaching, students will be involved in a workshop series to design real class activities using active learning.
Assessment is one of the most critical steps in scientific teaching. Having the proper tools to determine whether your education design is actually working is the cornerstone of both scientific teaching and active learning. Students who participate in this program will not only be taught how to design assessments but will also be given the opportunity to design real assessments for the 2016 BIOS program. Students will implement their assessment designs during the 2016 BIOS program, collecting real data that will eventually be used in education publications. At the same time, students will learn the experimental procedures they are to assess during the BIOS program. In this way, they will become teaching assistants for the BIOS program. An active participation in these assessments and help in properly preparing their assessment data for publication will grant the students shared authorship of the papers that result from this work.
Training schedule: 2016 BIOS TAs
It will span across one semester and one summer: from January 11, 2016 to the conclusion of the BIOS program (currently scheduled to finish in mid-August).
Student participants will undertake four main tasks during this time. The first task (task 1) is to learn and practice the basic elements of scientific teaching. The second task (task 2) is to design science process skill assessment tools for use in the BIOS program. The third task (task 3) is to design specific assessment tools for experimental procedures used in the BIOS program. The final task (task 4) is to participate in the 2016 BIOS program, implementing the assessment tools they have designed.
The training schedule will consist of four designated weeks of direct interaction with me and intermediate segments that the students will use to work on various tasks.
The first designated week will commence from January 11 to January 15 and consist of a five full-day workshop series where students learn the basic principles of active learning and scientific teaching and practice implementing these principles in designing real activities and assessments (task 1). At the end of this first week, students will begin to design science process skill assessments for use in the BIOS program (task 2).
The second week of interaction with me, taking place in March, will involve a series of meetings to discuss the process skill assessments. During this week, participating students will also be introduced to the experimental procedures they will assess during the BIOS program (task 3). At the conclusion of the second week, students will work on finalizing the science process skill assessments and designing new assessments for the experimental procedures they are responsible for.
The third week of interaction with me, taking place in May, will be a series of meetings where we finalize the science process skill assessments and evaluate the new assessments for experimental procedures. Following the third week, students will work on 1) translating the science process skill assessments into Chinese to be used in the 2016 BIOS program and 2) finalizing the assessment tools for experimental procedures.
The fourth week of direct interaction with me will take place the week immediately before the start of the BIOS program, currently scheduled to begin on July 3. This will be the final “cleanup” week were all assessment tools are finalized and last-minute preparations for the BIOS program are completed. All students participating will then participate in the full BIOS program as student teaching assistants with two main responsibilities (task 4): 1) teach the experimental procedures they have learned and are responsible for and 2) perform proper assessments of the procedures they teach. During each week of interaction with me, students are expected to make as much time available, including nights and weekends, so at least two meetings are possible.
|2016||Task 1 (learning and practice basic principles)||Task 2 (design science process skill assessments)||Task 3 (design experimental procedure assessments)||Task 4 (participate in the 2016 BIOS program)|
|1/11-1/15||Full-day workshops||Start designing assessments|
|1 week in March||Meetings to evaluate new designs and design answer rubrics||Introduced to experimental procedures|
|1 week in May||Meetings to finalize designs and start translating||Meetings to start designing assessments|
|Week before BIOS||Finalize designs, confirm designs with BIOS faculty|
|BIOS program||Implement designs||Implement designs||Participate as STAs, collect assessment data|
The transformation of courses involves creating environments in which students can interact with one another, engage in collaborative problem solving, and articulate and defend their ideas.
The learning assistant (LA) experience is valuable for students who continue on to any career. It includes three main themes; content, practice, and pedagogy.
- Content: LAs meet weekly with their faculty instructors to plan for the upcoming week, reflect on the previous week, and analyze student assessment data.
- Practice: LAs facilitate collaboration among learning teams of 3-10 students by formatively assessing student understanding and asking guiding questions.
- Pedagogy: LAs will attend a special seminar where they reflect on their own teaching and learning and make connections to relevant education literature.
These themes are brought into the experience through four related activities:
- Assisting lead instructors in the classroom: LAs help facilitate collaboration among learning teams of 3-10 students by formatively assessing student understanding and asking guiding questions. This can occur through the facilitation of small discussions groups in classes and/or in recitations/help sessions. LAs will use good questioning skills and work to involve all students in meaningful group work.
- Participate in a special seminar, where they will make connections to relevant education literature.
- Participating in the assessment process: LAs will be expected to participate in a variety of observations, assessments, and questionnaires. The data will help track LAs’ experiences.
- Participating in a learning community: LAs are apart of a larger learning community. To foster a sense of community, they will be invited to participate in many of scientific events including seminars, dinners, social events, and planning sessions.
Our LA program is modeled after the LA program at the University of Colorado, with extensive help from faculties in Penn State University.