I served as the head TA for MACS 100 in order to help transition TAs from working as graders to designing and running their own discussion sections, and as a TA for several online courses. While working on my Master’s in the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, I also served as a teaching assistant for several courses. Below are highlights of my responsibilities for courses in which I served as a teaching assistant.
Introduction to Popular Film and Television (MACS 100)
Head Teaching Assistant/Discussion Section Leader Spring 2016
Teaching Assistant/Grader Fall 2012-Spring 2013
During the Spring 2016 semester, the department added discussion sections to this course, meaning that instead of just grading, teaching assistants would now lead discussion sections. I was brought in by the professor as someone who had both TA-ed this course before and taught several of my own classes to help newer TAs learn how to lead discussion and run their own classrooms. In addition to leading three discussion sections per week of 30 each, I assisted in weekly TA meetings answering questions and brainstorming discussion activities, contributed to the design the course’s new writing assignments, and helped redesign the course’s final video project.
As the only TA with extensive experience both producing and teaching production, I also offered assistance to students and the other TAs in implementing the final video project, in which students had to work in groups to write a script, storyboard, shoot, and edit a 3-4 minute video relating to the course’s material.
Spring 2016 – Section A – 4.5 / 4.2
Section B – 4.2 / 4.0
Section C – 4.9 / 4.8
Sample Student Comments:
“Knew the material well and was always wiling to take time and re-explain things if we seemed lost.”
“(the aspects of the course that were most beneficial to me were) Test review sessions and feedback on our video projects.”
“She’s really friendly and is really easy to approach if I had questions about the class.”
Sex and Gender in Popular Media (MACS 356 Online Course)
Summer 2016/Winter 2016
Both the summer and winter courses consisted of 20-30 students; the summer course lasted 8 weeks, while the winter version lasted for 4. Our biggest challenge for both versions was reasonably condensing the work of a 16-week course into much shorter time frame while creatively implementing modes of assigning work, communicating with students, and fostering student interaction.
I was primarily responsible for grading weekly online message board assignments, and communicating with students via e-mail. I also maintained the course web portal and dealt with the majority of technical issues, setting up the grade book and troubleshooting student tech issues. I also helped the professor design and update the curriculum, suggesting and commenting on potential readings and screenings, wrote one of my own lectures and lessons per semester, sent announcements, and helped write weekly quizzes. My biggest contribution was giving extensive feedback on student writing, both on message boards and on drafts students sent me for review before turning them into the professor. Each week, students were asked to write 2-4 paragraphs in response to a prompt relating to the week’s readings and then to comment on each other’s answers within their group’s message board. Focusing my comments on increasing specificity in their writing, applying readings to examples, and strengthening their arguments, I found that students in both courses improved the quality their message board writing assignments dramatically from the first week to the final week.
Syracuse University, Newhouse School
Fall 2007-Spring 2008
During my Master’s degree program, I served as a teaching assistant in the department of Television, Radio, and Film for three classes per semester, including Film and Popular Culture, Editing, New Media, The Wire: A Case Study, and Advanced Filmmaking. In these courses, I was primarily responsible for setting up technology, taking attendance, running review sessions for tests, giving feedback on student writing, and giving production assistance and guidance on editing and filmmaking assignments. I had much less responsibility than I do at the University of Illinois, but because Newhouse is a more production focused department, I gained valuable experience and insight on how to design and run production and practice-based courses.