The pedagogical support body develops resources to support teaching assistants, professors and students
This fall has been touted as a “return to normalcy” in educational institutions across the country. At UC Santa Cruz, it wasn’t like that. Instructors dealt with teaching in multiple modalities, helping students shift back to face-to-face learning and navigate complex public health protocols. Yet in some respects, including innovations and improvements in teaching, it has been better than normal. Instructors across campus are using new tools and techniques in their teaching more than ever. It took a lot of work to make this happen, and a lot of that work was done by graduate students.
The Instructional Support Corps is an example of the contribution of graduate students to the successful transition to campus. The Academic Support Corps was a group of 17 graduate fellows from all divisions who developed educational resources for the fall term that continue to assist teaching assistants and faculty and students.
Campus Rector and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer funded the Instructional Support Corps to provide meaningful paid opportunities for graduate students, for whom summer appointments may be scarce, and to increase capacity of the many units on campus that support teaching. Graduate fellows have worked with library, Center for Teaching and Learning Innovations (CITL) and online education staff on projects designed to result in widely usable educational resources. The projects are described below.
Open educational resources
Emily Travis, Jennifer Guerrero and Chessa Adsit-Morris worked with Associate University Librarian Kerry Scott and Katharin Peters, Head of Library Research and Support Services, on the library’s efforts to promote and support the use of textbooks of Open Educational Resources (OER) in undergraduate courses. (REL manuals are free, high-quality manuals available online. More information is here.)
Brittany Caldwell and Leslie Lodwick have developed a self-paced version of online education “Integrated course design for hybrid teaching”Workshop with instructional designers Caitlin Binder and Megan McNamara. (A hybrid course combines synchronous and asynchronous elements. Students in a hybrid course typically watch course videos in their free time and engage in active learning during class time.)
Katie Kobayashi worked with CITL CEO Samara Foster to rethink the CITL website. Harikrishna Kuttivelil, Melody Nixon and Nikka Malakooti supported content development for the redesigned teaching and learning resources. The new site was launched in October.
Batu Aytemiz worked with CITL staff to develop a set of educational materials (“booster boxes”) for computer media instructors and technical assistants to use with their undergraduate students. (A booster pack is a curation and distillation of articles, videos, books, and other resources on a specific game design topic. These booster packs provide basic resources and compress them into digestible bites and also provide links for those who want a deeper dive. An example can be found here.
Educational and technological guides
Esra Ozban, Ellie Frazer and Ryan Lambe have developed a set of educational and educational technology guides, which can be found in the “Educational Practices” and “Digital Tools” sections of keepteaching.ucsc.edu, for teaching assistants and teachers with Dana Conard, specialist in educational technological support for online education. Vishal Chakraborty also worked on an OE project: The “Key to Integrity,” a website that generates a visual key that shows students the resources they can use for exams and other high-stakes assessments.
Amanda Carbajal and Elsie Carrillo joined CITL’s “Real Project”Teaching team to provide design consultations and facilitate a session on how teachers can best support their teaching assistants and readers. (“Project Real” is a multi-part workshop that helps faculty identify and address equity gaps in their lessons.)
None of these projects would have been possible without the Training Support Corps. The library, CITL and online education are highly productive units, but neither had the capacity to produce these new resources on their own. Speaking on behalf of the three units, Foster said, “We are grateful for this funding which has both provided a paid professional development opportunity for graduate students and allowed our units and the campus as a whole to benefit from the talents. and the skills of our incredible graduate students. Their contributions have been essential in supporting teaching and learning during the transition to the fall term and beyond.