Category Teaching Assistants

TAPD mini-modules week 4: But, are students really learning?

This semester, we’ve carved out time from the Teaching Assistants’ normal duties—a half-hour per week—to use for professional development activities. This post series tracks our weekly goals and activities. “We’re going to derive this, but I need your help with it.” This was my lead-in to the set of clicker questions we used to derive […]

TAPD mini-modules week 3: “Does F=ma in real life or only in physics?”

This semester, we’ve carved out time from the Teaching Assistants’ normal duties—a half-hour per week—to use for professional development activities. This post series tracks our weekly goals and activities. “Does F=ma in real life or only in physics?” Students say the darnedest things. Over my years as a TA and instructor, I’ve had many interactions […]

TA-PD mini-modules week 2: May I have your attention, please?

This semester, we’ve carved out time from the Teaching Assistants’ normal duties—a half-hour per week—to use for professional development activities. This post series tracks our weekly goals and activities. Over my years as a TA and instructor, I’ve developed strategies to gain and keep the attention of the students when needed. One of my key […]

TA-PD mini-modules week 1: Nailing the intro

This semester, we’ve carved out time from the Teaching Assistants’ normal duties—a half-hour per week—to use for professional development activities. This post series tracks our weekly goals and activities. My first Teaching Assistant experience came as an undergraduate student in an introductory calculus class. My job was to run quizzes and work example problems in […]

Proactive instructors boost student engagement

To initiate conversations or wait for students to come to you? In the physics classroom, this is a question that many inexperienced (and probably some experienced) instructors wrestle with. In a new paper Ido Roll and myself show that the answer is that you should initiate conversations. By observing Teaching Assistants (TAs) and students in a first-year physics lab, we show […]

The student perspective on the lecture TA: ‘Ask me how I’m doing’

Understanding the role of the lecture TA This past semester, I was a lecture TA in Physics 101 (in Joss Ives‘s section), a large-scale first-year calculus based physics course. Briefly, the lecture TA is another instructor-type body in the ~250 student lecture, put there to support student learning. Depending on your experience, you might be wondering what […]

A guide to being a lecture TA

A new role for TAs In the flipped classrooms of reformed large enrolment first-year physics courses, as instantiated in Physics 100 and other courses at UBC, much of the typical monologue has been replaced with clicker questions and worksheets, making room for students to think and work with peers and the instructor and rendering the term […]