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Fall 2015 Course Assignments

Page history last edited by Chandra Turpen 8 years, 3 months ago

Return to Maryland Learning Assistant Program  >  Science Education Seminar Fall 2015

All course assignments should be submitted to me electronically via email.


Reflections on Course Readings:
Every week you are expected to submit written reflections on the readings (no more than 2 pages, single-spaced). Email these to me by 10:00am Tuesday morning.  When there is more than one reading, you can focus on one of them or talk about both.  Here are some suggested questions to address in these reflections:

  • What is the main argument(s) of the reading? ~1-2 paragraph(s)
  • What parts of the reading were confusing or unclear? What questions do you have after this reading? ~1-2 paragraph
  • Discuss how the issues or arguments presented in the reading relate to your experiences (as a learning assistant and/or as a student).  Use specific examples whenever possible. ~3 paragraphs


Peer Interview and Analysis Papers

You will be conducting two interviews with someone you know (friend, family, etc.) where you ask them to describe their thinking regarding a driving question (regarding a scientific phenomenon of your choosing).  Conducting interviews of this type will help us to practice eliciting and listening to others' ideas.  We will use these interviews to guide our discussions in class.  You’ll audio record the interview and transcribe the interview (i.e. type up the dialogue and bring a text of the conversation into class with line numbers indicated).  Your primary goal is to understand what THEY think about a particular question/topic, rather than lead them towards a particular answer.  How did your interviewee think about your question and the phenomenon in question?  In what ways did their ideas make sense?  How might your questions have influenced their responses? For the each interview you will write up a formal analysis of the interviewee’s ideas in the interview (no more than 4 pages, single-spaced).  

For additional details see: Additional Guidelines and Resources for Interviews Fall 2015


Field notes on experiences as a Learning Assistant:

Four times throughout the semester, you are expected to turn in field notes on your experiences as a learning assistant (no more than 3 pages, single-spaced).  These field notes should be completed shortly after the teaching experience (ideally within 24 hours).  These field notes should focus primarily on your interactions with students.  Each field note should include the following:

  1. Heading: your name, the course you are writing about, the date and time of the class session you are reflecting on
  2. Brief Background: In what setting are the observations occurring? What activity are students working on? (~1 paragraph)
  3. Description of Interactions with Students: This and the following section are the heart of the field note!! Here, describe in detail interactions that you had with students that stood out to you.  What did the students do or say?  What did this tell you?  What did you do or say?  (Note: This should be a low inference account of what happened during the episode of interest. It is helpful to focus in-depth on a few notable interactions with students rather than trying to recap the entire class period.)
  4. Interpretations of Classroom Interactions: This and the previous section are the heart of the field note!! Here, analyze and reflect on what happened.  Work to ground your claims and interpretations in the evidence that you provide in the previous section.  This section is where you might start thinking about your observations in terms of the course readings or other experiences that you’ve had. 

For additional details see: Additional Resources on Writing Field notes Fall 2015


Reflection Paper on a video-recording of your teaching

In the second half of the semester, you will analyze a video of yourself interacting with students. What do you see your students doing?  What to do you like that you see you and your students doing?  What do you see that you would like to work to change in what you and your students are doing? Critique your own efforts to support students’ learning in these interactions.

For additional details see: Additional Guidelines and Resources for Reflection Paper Fall 2015


Poster Presentation and Final Synthesis Paper

At the end of the semester, you’ll create a poster to share at a public presentation with your peers, faculty mentors, and others. The purpose of this project is to apply and synthesize what you’ve learned about science teaching and learning, drawing on course readings and your teaching experiences.  In addition to the poster, you’ll write a final synthesis paper summarizing what you hope to communicate to the audience (no more than 5 pages, single-spaced).

For additional details see: Final Project Fall 2015


Disclaimer: All of these assignments are meant to help you make progress in your own thinking about teaching and learning by connecting the readings, your thoughts, and your classroom experiences.  Below I list some suggestions for how I think the assignments can be productive, but if you think of other questions you’d like to pursue or other issues you want to address that will advance your thinking, please do.  I’d rather these assignments be helpful for you than you follow my suggestions like a check list.

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