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@ Sheraton Denver Downtown, Denver, CO

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New for 2014! Technology Test Kitchen - BYOD to learn, explore, and share knowledge within this lab environment

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Save the Dates

22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

The Modern Teaching Assistantship: An Innovative Approach to the Development of Emerging Instructors

Patrick Hayes, Jr. (Southern New Hampshire University, USA)
Linda Ruest (Southern New Hampshire University, USA)
Additional Authors
Joan Smith (Southern New Hampshire University, USA)
Session Information
July 9, 2014 - 11:20am
Faculty Development & Student Support
Areas of Special Interest: 
Institutional Initiatives
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Governor's Square 15
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 6
Virtual Session

This presentation highlights SNHU's novel, unconventional online teaching assistantship, which merges new faculty development with both undergraduate and graduate student support.

Extended Abstract

Online enrollment at Southern New Hampshire University has increased by over 20,000 students in less than two years. This growth presents us with the unique challenge to expand student success while ensuring academic quality through superior instruction. In order to address and improve both faculty development and student success, we created an innovative online graduate course - English 675: Online Teaching Experience, which offers graduate students the pedagogical opportunity to become teaching assistants in an undergraduate learning environment; in turn, the teaching assistants provide a new level of support for undergraduates, collaborating with advisors, instructors, and team leads in the continuous effort to connect with students and engage them as individuals. This 50-minute presentation in the Faculty Development and Student Success program track will examine how our online teaching assistants can simultaneously contribute to the cycle of support for undergraduate students while engaging in multimodal educational tools to collectively prepare for future roles in online education. Our presentation is guided by the following question: How can we train instructors for the future of higher education to provide our students with unparalleled support, guidance, and ultimately, success? This model pioneers the use of technology to provide an unconventional online teaching assistantship, merging new faculty development with both graduate and undergraduate student support. As such, undergraduates in the program gain new opportunities for individual care through written and oral communication, video conference, and focused feedback. The dual nature of this course first encourages evolvement in the role of a graduate student through study of the cognitive, social, and teaching components of best practices in online learning first identified by D. Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer. This culminates in a multitude of term projects, including a student needs analysis, curriculum development, a teaching philosophy, and a professional portfolio. Subsequently, online teaching assistants identify struggling students, foster motivation and student engagement, determine appropriate feedback for various assignments, and learn to grade towards established rubrics. Our initiative functions as a three-tier support system designed as a cycle of continuous improvement and success: early undergraduate intervention and retention, graduate student professional development, and exceptional online instruction. Panelists include Patrick M. Hayes, the assistant dean who conceptualized the course and managed the composition courses; Linda Ruest, the instructional designer and outcomes specialist who composed the goals and assessments for the graduate course; and Joan F. Smith, the online professor who developed the course content, deliverables, and resource list for English 675. They will explain the research-driven approach to the course development, success of the program's execution, and an evaluation of the efficacy of blended instructor/teaching assistant instruction compared to control courses using Blackboard analytics, models, and empirical data. Additionally, panelists will host an interactive question-and-answer session and provide resources attendees might use in the development of their own programs, fostering a collaborative purpose to the improvement of higher education in a blended learning model.