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Wednesday, June 22 • 16:45 - 18:00
POSTER.66 - Empowering learners: An Empirical Investigation of Graduate Student Teaching Development

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Context: Interdisciplinary (i.e. university-wide programming) and disciplinary (i.e. training open to graduate students from one college or department) teaching development programs have been used for many years in higher education. Currently, research on the benefits of these teaching models remains scant in terms of a contextualized understanding, and empirical studies are needed. The purpose of this study was to determine graduate students’ perspectives related to interdisciplinary and disciplinary teaching and learning experiences. Learning

Objectives: The objectives of this research project were to: a) identify graduate student participation patterns in teacher training models, b) investigate students’ preferences and rationale for participation in interdisciplinary and disciplinary teacher training models, and c) empirically evaluate the perceived strengths and weakness of interdisciplinary teacher training models.

Method: Two online surveys created with Qualtrics© were used: a quantitative survey (Survey 1) and a qualitative follow-up survey (Survey 2). Three participatory focus groups were conducted to allow for further in-depth exploration in both an interdisciplinary and disciplinary group setting that represented seven distinct colleges. Statistical and thematic analyses were conducted with survey responses, and thematic analyses were conducted on focus group data.

Results: Similar themes emerged from the survey and focus group data identifying perceived benefits of participation in either interdisciplinary or disciplinary training. Respondents’ perceived benefits were related to: (a) becoming a better teacher; (b) social learning; and (c) that while the perceived benefits of the models vary, the outcomes of both experiences are shared. The lived experiences of this population of graduate students expand the characterization of interdisciplinary and disciplinary programming.

Discussion: This empirical study points to the need for graduate student programs-- specifically teaching development offered by educational development units-- to provide both interdisciplinary and disciplinary teaching development opportunities that achieve a blend of benefits for learners.

avatar for Kaitlin Roke

Kaitlin Roke

PhD Candidate, University of Guelph
Kaitlin Roke is a PhD Candidate at the University of Guelph, in the department of Human Health and Nutritional Science. Kaitlin also worked with the department of Open Learning and Educational Support as one of the Graduate Teaching Community Co-Chairs.

Additional Authors

Katherine Bishop-Williams

PhD Student, University of Guelph
Katherine Bishop-Williams is a PhD Student at the University of Guelph, in the department of Population Medicine. Katherine is currently the College Lead for the Ontario Veterinary College, offering workshops and resources for graduate teaching development. Katherine is also involved in the Eco-Health Club and the Knowledge Translation and Transfer group, contributing several hands-on interactive workshops for graduate students.

Wednesday June 22, 2016 16:45 - 18:00
Atrium, Physics & Astronomy Building Western University

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