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Teaching and Supporting Learning as a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Drawing on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SofTL) model, the module exposes participants to the educational discourses on teaching and learning at university level. Participants develop an individual teaching philosophy and use theory and reflection to explore the praxis of their teaching. This takes place within a supportive peer group who share practice, insight, and pedagogical concerns to develop a scholarly approach to teaching, assessment and evaluation, using evidence and critical reflection. 

Module-for-Credit Full for MT 2020

Enrol for Self Directed module below

Who is the Module for?

This module provides an opportunity for postgraduate tutors, demonstrators and graduate teaching assistants from across the disciplines to come together to critically reflect on their role as a Teaching Assistants.

This module seeks to enable Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) to:

  • Develop a conceptual understanding of the norms and expectations of being a TA;
  • Examine your assumptions, values, beliefs, and practices;
  • Employ effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning;
  • Develop a student-centred approach to teaching;
  • Promote inquiry and student engagement;
  • Evaluate your teaching and their impact on student learning.

Module for Credit - Teaching and Supporting Learning as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (5 ECTS)

This module carries (5ECTS) and can form part of the structured PhD. 

Module learning outcomes:
Upon successful completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Reflect on the tasks and responsibilities associated with your role;
  2. Practice some appropriate communication and coping strategies;
  3. Select and apply some relevant theories of learning to your teaching;
  4. Design a teaching session plan;
  5. Use technology to enhance your students’ learning;
  6. Support assessment of, for and as learning;
  7. Reflect on your own learning as a teaching assistant.

Module Blocks
The module is divided into the following 7 learning blocks:

  • Role of the Graduate Teaching Assistant
  • Communications and Coping Strategies
  • How Students Learn
  • Session Planning
  • Designing an Online Activity
  • Assessment and Feedback
  • Reflecting on and Evaluating your Teaching

The module will run from Monday 28th September 2020 for twelve weeks (with a break for reading week) and there is no charge.  You will participate in weekly online discussion threads, contribute to journal entries and must be able to participate in the following 3 x 50 minute online tutorials on the following dates:

  • Wed 21st October 2020 (1:05pm) – Preparation of a Draft Teaching Philosophy Statement  - Dr Michael Wride
  • Wed 18th November 2020 (5:05pm) – Session Planning - Dr Jonny Johnston
  • Wed 2nd December 2020 (1:05 pm) – Technology Enhanced Learning -  Dr Jonny Johnston

Registration has now closed for the module in Michaelmas Term 2020.

Module for Credit - Timetable Michaelmas Term 2020

Block Title Teaching Term Week Date

Role of the Graduate Teaching Assistant 

Teaching-term, week 1

Monday 28th September 2020

Communications and Coping Strategies   

Teaching-term, week 2

Monday 5th October 2020

How Students Learn

Teaching-term, week 3

Monday 12th October 2020

Tutorial 1 - Preparation of a Draft Teaching Philosophy Statement 

Teaching-term, week 4

Wednesday 21st October 2020

Session Planning

Teaching-term, week 5

Monday 26th October 2020

Designing an Online Activity      

Teaching-term, week 6

Monday 2nd November 2020

Peer support – optional contribution (reading week)

Teaching-term, week 7

Monday 9th November 2020

Tutorial 2 – Designing a Session Plan

Teaching-term, week 8

Wednesday 18th November 2020

Assessment and Feedback

Teaching-term, week 9

Monday 23rd November 2020

Tutorial 3 – Technology Enhanced Learning

Teaching-term, week 10

Wednesday 2nd December 2020

Reflecting on and Evaluating your Teaching

Teaching-term, week 11

Monday 7th December 2020

Peer Support for Assignment Completion and Submission

Teaching-term, week 12

Monday 14th December 2020

Module for Credit - Assessment Process

Students are required to submit 3 items for assessment. Each assessment is linked to one online tutorial, led by one of the Academic Practice team. Please note that each assessment cannot be submitted until after the relevant tutorial has taken place. 

  • Submission of a draft teaching philosophy statement (700 words): Aligned with Discussion Forum thread 4.
  • Submission of a draft session plan (one A4 page): Aligned with Discussion Forum thread 8.
  • Submission of a 2-3 minute videoclip related to communication and coping strategies: Aligned with Discussion Forum thread 10.
  • Contribution to a minimum of 11 Discussion Forum Threads (i.e. excluding the ‘optional’ reading week, Forum 7).
  • Contribution to at least 32 journal entries (at least 2 in each of the 7 blocks in the module). We do not wish to be prescriptive in level of contribution to each thread, but expect meaningful engagement with the blocks. 

Module for Credit - Online Learning Supports

Students enrolled on this Module are expected to take a self-directed approach to assuring opportunities for peer learning. The following supports are provided:

  • A Discussion Forum thread will open each week including an ‘optional activities’ Forum during reading week, numbered 1 to 12 and aligned with each week of ‘teaching-weeks’ in turn.  These Forum threads will enable students to engage in peer learning with others at a similar stage of engagement with the content and activities provided in this Module.  Discussion Forum number 12 enables you all to support each other as you prepare and submit your assignments within 2 weeks of the end of teaching-term.  All Forums will be available until you submit your assignments.
  • If the 'discussion group' has queries that cannot be resolved by means of peer discussion and debate in Forum Threads (1-12), the group should formulate a question for the Module developers/coordinator and email to with the following Subject Title/ Header on the email: 'VP1017 Graduate Teaching Assistants Query related to Block [number of thread/block]'.  The team will endeavour to respond within 3 working days. 
  • Weekly 'announcements' will remind students what content/activities/tasks are aligned with the dates in question. 
  • A Blackboard Collaborate course room will also be enabled for students enrolled on this module - students electing to use this facility can use this virtual space for 'real-time' (synchronous) online interaction, discussion and debate.
  • Students attend three 50 minute online tutorials (Wednesday Teaching-week 4 at 1.05pm, Wednesday Teaching-week 8 at 5.05pm and Wednesday teaching-week 10 at 1.05pm).   Each online tutorial is aligned with a Discussion Forum thread (numbered 4, 6 and 10 respectively).  Discussion Forum threads related to online tutorials will open one week prior to the tutorial and it is a requirement (for satisfactory completion of this module) that student's contribute/ post questions to each of these Forum threads.  Contributions should be made by 10am on the day prior to the scheduled tutorial. 
  • Students are assigned a private Journal for use in this module.  'Satisfactory' engagement, for the purposes of award of Credit for this module, will include that students complete a minimum of 90% of the Journal entries aligned with activities on the module and, within the '90% of the Journal entries', students must complete at least 2 Journal entries in each of the 7 blocks in the module.  There are 35 journal entries in total so a minimum of 32 entries is a requirement.

Self Directed Module (No Credits) - Teaching and Supporting Learning as a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Funded by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Academic Practice & eLearning (CAPSL) have developed an online module titled ‘Teaching and Supporting Learning as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.’   The new online module is research led and is based on the original 5ECTS module for Graduate Teaching Assistants.

The online module is available in Blackboard and contains seven blocks: -

•Role of the Graduate Teaching Assistant
•Communications and Coping Strategies
•How Students Learn
•Session Planning
•Technology-Enhanced Learning
•Assessment and Feedback
•Reflecting on and Evaluating your Teaching

All postgraduates in Trinity may self-enrol on the fully online version of the module from within Blackboard.

To self-enrol, go to Blackboard at (This module is NOT for credit).

Log in using your College network username and password
In the Module Search box, enter –Teaching and Supporting Learning as a Graduate Teaching Assistant
Click on the module -VP1017_PD_1819
Click on + Enrol at the bottom of the module menu on the left of the screen
In the ACCESS CODE box enter –TACOURSE1819
Click OK. You may need to log out and back in to Blackboard if you cannot see all the content in the module after self-enrolling.

New to Teaching Toolkit

The HEA has online New to Teaching Toolkits for those starting out on, or returning to, a higher education teaching career. A list of these toolkits are below.

The New to Teaching Toolkit contains guidance, literature and exercises in the areas of assessment, feedback, large and small group teaching, as well as developing and working with open educational resources (OER).

It draws on the experiences of new and experienced academic staff from across the disciplines and their reflections on the challenges and opportunities of teaching in higher education in the UK.

In a series of videos, colleagues consider what has worked for them in the classroom and what may work for others. The toolkit also contains information that you can work through at your own pace.

It will be updated with new resources as they become available.

Useful Links to support postgraduate teaching and research