Utilising graduate teaching assistants to implement active learning at university level

David Read, Stephen Michael Barnes, Charles Kenneth Harrison, Rachel Koramoah, Iveta Ivanova

Abstract


Active learning is recognised as a crucial component of university courses in enhancing performance and retention. However, universities face numerous challenges in broadening the provision of active learning, including time constraints, and a lack of staff training and confidence to develop appropriate activities.  This article outlines an approach taken at the University of Southampton to engage a team of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) in the process of developing, delivering, and evaluating active learning resources to support small-group teaching in chemistry on a Science Foundation Year programme.  A team of four GTAs developed nine activities during the 2015/16 academic year, with evaluation supporting their enhancement for 2016/17.  The article outlines the progress of this work over two academic years, providing evidence of a positive impact on students and teachers alike.


Keywords: Active learning; peer-assisted learning; GTAs


Keywords


Active learning; peer assisted learning; GTAs

Full Text:

PDF

References


Bonwell, C. C. & Eison, J. A. (1991) Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom, ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017] https://www.ydae.purdue.edu/lct/hbcu/documents/Active_Learning_Creating_Excitement_in_the_Classroom.pdf

Coate, K., Barnett, R., & Williams, G. (2001) Relationships Between Research and Teaching in Higher Education in England. Higher Education Quarterly, 55(2), 158-174. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017]

DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.11.211

Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014) Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111(23), 8410-8415. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017] DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111,

Gray P. J., Froh, R. C., & Diamond R. M. (1992) A National Study of Research Universities: On the balance between research and undergraduate teaching. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University, NY.

Haak, D. C., HilleRisLambers, J., Pitre, E., & Freeman, S. (2011) Increased Structure and Active Learning Reduce the Achievement Gap in Introductory Biology. Science, 332(6034), 1213-1216. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017] DOI: 10.1126/science.1204820.

King, A. (1993) From Sage on The Stage to Guide on the Side. College Teaching, 41(1), 30-35. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017] http://www.jstor.org/stable/27558571

Matthews, D. (2017) Academics ‘fail to change teaching due to fear of looking stupid’. The Times Higher Education. [Accessed Sept 15¬th 2017] https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/academics-fail-change-teaching-due-fear-looking-stupid

Michael, J. (2006) Where’s the evidence that active learning works? Advances in Physiology Education. 30(4) 159-167. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017] DOI: 10.1152/advan.00053.2006

Milner-Bolotin (2001) Creating community among the graduate teaching assistants: benefits, challenges and lessons learned. Journal of Graduate Teaching Assistant Development, 8(2), 65-70. [Accessed on Sept 15th 2017] https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ637461

Muzaka, V. (2009) The niche of Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs): perceptions and reflections. Teaching in Higher Education. 14(1), 1-12. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017]

DOI: 10.1080/13562510802602400

Park, C. (2004) The Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA): Lessons from North America. Teaching in Higher Education, 9 (3) 349-361. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017]

DOI: 10.1080/1356251042000216660

Prince, M. (2014) Does Active Learning Work? A Review of the Research. Journal of Engineering Education, 93(3), 223-231. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017] DOI: 10.1002/j.2168-9830.2004.tb00809.x

Roberts, E. (2016) Active Learning in higher education as a restorative practice: a lecturer’s reflections. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, 10, 1-15. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017]

http://www.aldinhe.ac.uk/ojs/index.php?journal=jldhe&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=292

Springer, L., Stanne, M. E., & Donovan, S. S. (1999) Effects of small-group learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. Review of Educational Research, 69(1) 21-5. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017]

DOI: 10.3102/00346543069001021

Young, S. & Bippus, A. (2008) Assessment of Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Training: A Case Study of a Training Program and Its Impact on GTAs. Communication Teacher, 22 (4), 116-129. [Accessed Sept 15th 2017]

DOI: 10.1080/17404620802382680




DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/ndtps.v0i12.2367

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
We use both functional and performance cookies to improve visitor experience. Continue browsing if you are happy to accept cookies. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information.
OK


New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences

eISSN: 2051-3615