Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Assistants' Perceptions of Their Responsibilities - Factors that Help or Hinder
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Proceedings of the 2013 Frontiers in Education Conference
Effective teaching assistants (TAs) are crucial for effective student learning. This is especially true in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs, where TAs are enabling large programs to transition to more student-centered learning environments. To ensure that TAs are able to support these types of learning environments, their perspectives of training, their abilities, and other work related aspects must be understood. In this paper a survey that was created based on interviews conducted with eight TAs is discussed. The survey has four primary categories of content that are critical for understanding TAs' perspectives: (1) background, (2) motivation, (3) training, and (4) grading and feedback. This research team is first utilizing this survey at Purdue University to test for validity and reliability of the instrument, as well as identifying ways to improve the experiences and effectiveness of the First-Year Engineering Program's TAs' support system, training, hiring process, and any other relevant components of the infrastructure. The more generalizable goal of this research is to further develop this survey to be used by any STEM program as a diagnostic tool for identifying opportunities to enhance the TA support systems and therefore improve student learning.