Graduate Assistant Instructor Training

Nine graduate students from the Department of Behavioral Sciences are participating in a series of workshops designed to help them develop their professional teaching skills in higher education. In September, a three-day series of workshops offered by the Office of Instructional Technology provided the graduate students with guidance in using instructional technology to maximize learning. The first two sessions focused on 1) best practices for setting up courses in Blackboard; 2) strategies for effective online discussion; 3) effective use of collaborative tools to increase student engagement; 4) effective use of tools for checking plagiarism and preventing cheating; 5) strategies for managing and grading assignments and tests efficiently; and 6) how to use the Blackboard Grade Center to manage and track student performance. The final session focused on pedagogy and techniques that leverage instructional technologies to improve student learning. The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Teaching by Chickering and Gamson and the tools that facilitate these principles were introduced to the graduate students. At the conclusion of the workshops, the take-away for the graduate students, our future educators, is that technology can empower teaching and learning. The key to effectiveness of technology is within the instructional context with sound pedagogical practice, not technological sophistication.