TAPcast is an educational podcast created by the TA Project. Professors, graduate students, administrators, and other members of the Rutgers educational community discuss multiple issues regarding pedagogy in the contemporary classroom. Subscribe and learn more about current trends in university instruction, hear creative tips about managing your time in and out of the classroom, and discover resources for expanding your pedagogical repertoire. Episodes are available through your favorite podcast apps or the TAP blog.
In this episode, we sit down with Neeta Yousaf and Amy Gage, PhD students in Food Science and Ecology & Evolution respectively. Continuing the conversation on General Biology at Rutgers from last episode, Neeta and Amy share their experiences being TAs for the course. Additionally, Neeta shares some insights gained as head TA. We discuss the role of TAs in the course, including weekly training, expectations for the students, and the expectations of the TA before, during, and after class. At the end, Neeta and Amy share some advice for new TAs and offer suggestions on balancing teaching and research.
In this episode, we talk with Dr. Dan Stern Cardinale and Dr. Christy Beal about the recent course transformation of Rutgers General Biology. We
discuss the course structure, both pre- and post-transformation, as well as the factors that provided the push for change. We review how active learning is incorporated into the new model and how it is reflected in the course assessments. Finally,
they share some insights and advice for other programs looking to revamp their mega-courses.
In this episode, we talk with Eva Erber and Eilis Kierans, PhD students in the German and Italian Departments respectively, about their experiences teaching language classes. After describing some of the activities they use, they tell us about differences and similarities between teaching in their native language and another language. Finally, they both offer some advice for new TAs.
In this episode, Darcey Searles shares some teaching tips for TAs. At the time of the recording, Darcey was a PhD student studying Communication. As of the release of this episode, Darcey has completed her doctoral studies. Throughout the episode, Darcey shares her teaching experience, such as strategies for starting the semester on the right foot, as well as her syllabus policies and the philosophies behind them. Finally, we talk about balancing teaching with research and she offers some tips for new TAs.
In this episode, we talk with Matt Charnley (Mathematics) and Sandra Medina (Spanish), current Rutgers Ph.D. candidates, about their experiences with active learning. We discuss some potential difficulties in using active learning techniques as well as strategies for overcoming those challenges. Matt and Sandra share some of the active learning activities they've incorporated into their classes. Finally, they offer advice for TAs who want to incorporate active learning into their class.
In this episode, we talk with Professor Michael Weingart from the Department of Mathematics. We discuss selected Math courses for non-majors and his efforts to create hybrid and flipped models of those courses. Specifically, I ask him about the pros and cons of such approaches and what goes into creating them. Finally, he offers some advice for those interested in creating flipped or hybrid courses.
In this episode, we talk to Kristina Howansky, a current Ph.D. candidate studying Social Psychology. Our conversation focuses on her strategies for and experiences with classroom discussions about controversial topics. I ask her about strategies for setting the right tone early in the course, ways to moderate the discussion with as little bias from personal feelings as possible, and tips for helping students to feel comfortable sharing their personal experiences. We also talk about diversity in the classroom and how that can affect these difficult conversations, as well as what these conversations look like in a hybrid course. Finally, Kristina tells us about getting students engaged and motivated though growth mindsets and comedy, such as her “potato project.”
In this inaugural episode of TAPcast, we hear from Senior Associate Dean Barbara E. Bender, the Director of the TA Project. We talk about what the TA Project is and how it got started. We discuss how it has evolved and what it looks like today. Finally, we spend some time talking about the motivation behind training new graduate student TAs.