P1030: Graduate instruction in teaching: A course designed to prepare first year graduate students for their role as teaching assistants

Author: Catherine O. Welder, Dartmouth College, USA


Date: 8/7/14

Time: 9:35 AM9:55 AM

Room: LTT 103

Related Symposium: S77

Chemistry graduate students at Dartmouth College are required to take the course “Graduate Instruction in Teaching” during the fall term of their first year prior to serving as a supervised teaching assistant. The primary goal of the course is to instruct students in the methodology and practice of chemistry teaching at the undergraduate college level. The class meets once a week for 90 minutes over a 10-week term. Topics covered include laboratory supervision and safety, grading, special needs students, learning styles, lecturing and tutoring techniques, exam preparation, and the teacher/student relationship. Regulations such as the school’s honor code and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are also discussed. Students read relevant material prior to lecture for in-class discussion. Some classes are devoted to oral presentations by the students. As part of the course they also shadow current teaching assistants and critique departmental colloquium speakers. The course is judged to be successful from positive responses on course evaluation forms. Additional mandatory safety training is provided by our Environmental Health and Safety department through a two-hour online course, followed by an online examination, and all first year graduate students participate in an institution-wide Professional Ethics Program. Weekly TA meetings during the term are also a requirement for all teaching assistants. Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows interested in a teaching career may elect to participate in the Future Faculty Teaching Series offered through the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL.)