COMPSCI 890T Teaching Assistants as Tomorrow’s Faculty (1 credit)

Instructor: Neena Thota

Office:  LGRC A353B

Office Hours: TBA

Email:  nthota@cs.umass.edu

 

Course Description:

COMPSCI 890T prepares Teaching Assistants (TAs) at the College of Information and Computer Sciences to fulfill their duties in an effective and pedagogically sound manner.

This one credit (not repeatable) course is semester long and taken by all TAs prior to assuming assistantship. All CICS TAs are eligible. Departmental consent is required for enrollment.

 

Course Objectives:

COMPSCI 890T focuses on the TA's role in leading discussion sections, planning effective review sessions, and facilitating labs. Educational best practices that scaffold learning and create an inclusive classroom are discussed. How to balance teaching and research responsibilities is addressed as part of graduate professional development.

 

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course the TA should be able to:

*      use evidence-based teaching practices for creating student-responsive, scalable classes.

*    create an inclusive environment to broaden participation and support diversity.

*    use discipline specific instructional strategies to scaffold learning.

 

Course Structure:

Class meeting time: Friday 9:05 to 9:55 in CS room 142.

The course is flipped with students completing readings, assignments, and online discussions ahead of each class. Class time is used for group discussions and in-class activities.

 

Course Grading:

Grades will be assigned for:

*      attendance and participation in class discussions and activities: 25%

*    completing questionnaires and assignments and submitting reflections: 25%

*    creating a Reusable Learning Object (RLO) as part of a group project: 50%

 

Course Topics (the instructor reserves the right to modify the list):

*      Student centered teaching approaches

*      Effective feedback (in-person and written)

*      Etiquette for communicating with students

*      Tools for teaching at scale

*      Creating an inclusive classroom

*      Peer instruction and other forms of active learning

*      Syllabus development – CS content

*      TA/grader coordination

*      Exam-writing strategies

*      Grading: criterion/norm referenced

*      Academic integrity; plagiarism

*      Being a responsible employee

*      Balancing teaching and research

*      Preparing for professional future with Teaching Statement and Portfolio

*      Threshold concepts in CS

 

Course Materials:

A text book is not required. Assignments, discussion forums, and readings will be in Moodle.

 

Course Policies:

Attendance: This is a discussion and activity based class. Participation, in addition to attendance, is an expectation of students enrolled in the course. Medical conditions, religious or funerary events, university-related event (conference visit, athletic event, field trip, or performance), or extenuating non-academic reasons (military obligation, family illness, jury duty, automobile collision) will be accommodated with written documentation.

Late Submissions: If you need an extension for an assignment, contact me at least 24 hours before the assignment is due. Medical conditions, religious or funerary events, university-related event (conference visit, athletic event, field trip, or performance), or extenuating non-academic reasons (military obligation, family illness, jury duty, automobile collision) that need extension will be accommodated with written documentation. Problems with computer or internet access, holiday or family travel are not valid excuses.

Academic Honesty Statement: In general, collaborative work is encouraged. For individual assignments, please refer to UMASS Academic Honesty Policy and Procedures for guidelines on what constitutes academic dishonesty and the sanctions that may be imposed on any student who has committed an act of academic dishonesty: http://www.umass.edu/honesty/.

Accommodation Statement: Any student who requires an accommodation due to a disability is directed to contact the UMASS Disability Services: http://www.umass.edu/disability/ to obtain the appropriate accommodation forms. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first week of the semester. My goal is to provide every student with a high-quality learning experience. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns about disabilities or any issue that may impact the quality of your learning.