GSTA Corner

This blog contains submissions from STP's Graduate Student Teaching Association (GSTA) to the GSTA Corner column in STP News from January 2020 to the present.  The GSTA Corner first appeared in the April 2016 issue of the newsletter, which was then called ToPNEWS-Online.  You can read GSTA Corner columns from April 2016 through December 2019 in past issues of ToPNEWS-Online here.

For regular updates on GSTA activities, follow us on Twitter (@gradsteachpsych) and Facebook (groups/theGSTA), check out our Blog, or write to us at gsta@teachpsych.org. You can find out more about us at teachpsych.org/gsta/index.php or at the GSTA resource website, where we periodically post ideas and materials.

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  • 10 Oct 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Submitted by the Members of the GSTA Steering Committee

    As we reflect on the unprecedented start to this academic year, we have observed strategies that are working well, as well as experiences that are more challenging. We wanted to share our thoughts with you in this month’s Corner as a reminder that we are all figuring this out together! Each member of the Steering Committee was asked to identify one teaching strategy or practice that is working well in their course, and one they are still working on.

    It is working well to...

         Accommodate testing formats from in-person, closed-book tests to an online format using timed exams that are open-book/open-note. (For considerations on timed exams, please see Gernsbacher et al., 2020.)

         Combine Zoom breakout rooms with Google Docs so that students can work collaboratively in small groups. I break my students into groups of 4 and create a Google Doc with one page per group. Each page has the same prompt. Students work on their group’s response to the prompt on their page which allows me to monitor their progress. They then review each other’s responses and leave feedback using comments.

         Condense lectures, as needed. Both students and instructors experience Zoom fatigue. Shortening class time while also ensuring students learning needs are being met has allowed for great collaboration with students.

         Be explicit with expectations for assignments. Students have been doing well online when given instructions which could be considered restrictive in face-to-face classes (e.g., following templates, specific page length requirements).

         Provide active learning activities in online classes. Students find it more engaging than typical discussion questions.

    I am still working on...

         Increasing classroom engagement. Engaging in creative activities and small group assignments can be more challenging online as compared to being in person. Finding new ways to teach course material has been interesting.

         Creating meaningful discussions during live/synchronous class sessions or monitoring discussions while students are in breakout rooms.

         Time management, both for myself and my students. It can be challenging to estimate how much time asynchronous coursework will take. I need to work on getting more feedback from students on how long asynchronous coursework is taking them to complete.

         Finding the right balance of flexibility and accountability. Things go wrong for students, and instructors need to be understanding. At the same time, this understanding has led to students assuming they can get by with doing less work. Finding the correct balance is important this semester.

         Creating more opportunities for processing emotions and fostering self-care for my students and myself.

    Considerations When Asking Students to Turn On Their Camera in Online Courses

    When teaching an online course, one question that has come up frequently is whether instructors should require students to have their cameras on during synchronous class meetings. We certainly understand the reasons some instructors may want cameras on (e.g., student engagement, to simulate more realistically being in-person). However, making this a requirement involves many more issues; namely, issues with equity and access. We cannot be certain where students are coming to class from and what is in their surroundings. Furthermore, students may be more likely to engage in social comparison with others’ backgrounds. For additional considerations, please see Moses (2020) and/or Nicandro et al. (2020).

  • 10 Sep 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This has been an incredibly difficult year to say the least. Now that many of us are teaching online for the first time and campuses are largely closed, some may feel overwhelmed and/or isolated from the teaching community. The Graduate Student Teaching Association (GSTA) Blog has long been a great resource for graduate student instructors and seasoned faculty to share their pedagogical techniques, research, and advice. This summer’s blog posts have continued to focus on evidence-based teaching in general, as well as various ways to make online courses student-centered and engaging. Additionally, the GSTA Blog Editorial Team stands proudly with #BlackLivesMatter and is motivated to use the platform to feature voices for change. To this end, there is now a greater emphasis on posting pieces advocating for and promoting inclusion, equity, and anti-racism in pedagogy.

    Some of the most recent blog posts include:

    Online Teaching

    Using Technology to Teach in the COVID-19 Era: Some Considerations

    by Richard J. Harnish, Ph.D.

    This post focuses on the three main challenges instructors may face with online course instruction. Dr. Harnish invites you to consider how a student’s physical/learning disabilities, access to resources, or psychological motivation may impact their engagement with your online course.

    Bringing Classroom Activities to Life Online

    by Alison Jane Martingano, M.Phil

    In this timely post, the author shares some of her favorite classroom activities and how they can be translated into an online format, aiming to ensure that the dynamic classroom experience is not lost in transition.

    Evidence-Based Pedagogy

    Using Project Syllabus to Create a Learner-Centered Syllabus

    by Amy S. Hunter, Ph.D.

    This piece by Dr. Hunter, editor of STP’s Project Syllabus, presents three practical ways to create student-centered syllabi and better prepare students for the upcoming semester.

    Small Teaching Changes that Make a Universal Impact

    by Stephanie Baumann, MS

    In this post, the author presents a teaching framework that is evidenced to help improve and optimize teaching for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn, focusing on three primary components of engagement, representation, and action and expression.

    Promoting Diversity and Anti-Racism in the Classroom

    Ways to Make Our Classrooms More Inclusive, Equitable, and Anti-Racist: A Three Part Series by GSTA Steering Committee:

    Part 1, Part 2, (Part 3 to be published soon)

    In this three-part series, the GSTA Steering Committee explores six actions graduate student instructors and assistants can take to make instruction more equitable and anti-racist. Each post presents practical strategies and resources to guide the creation of a psychology course promoting inclusion and celebrating diversity.

    Teaching with Empathy

    by Brian C. Smith, Ph.D., and Sal Meyers, Ph.D.

    In this piece, the authors shift the reader’s focus to the social aspect of education, arguing that teacher empathy improves the quality of student-teacher interaction and leads to better learning.

    If you would like to contribute to the GSTA Blog, we would love to hear from you! Please email us.


    GSTA Invited Speaker at APA 2020

    Dr. Amy Silvestri Hunter gave the GSTA invited address at the virtual 2020 APA Convention. Dr. Hunter is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Seton Hall University and the Associate Director of Project Syllabus, a compendium of model psychological syllabi sponsored by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2). Dr. Hunter provided a brief background on the empirical basis for the current rubric used to evaluate syllabi and then provided suggestions for easy-to-implement changes to ones’ syllabus consistent with the Project Syllabus rubric that are likely to enhance student satisfaction.



    GSTA Blog Editorial Team

    Sarah Frantz, The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Maya Rose, The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Hallie Jordan, University of Southern Mississippi

    Tashiya Hunter, The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Raoul Roberts, The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Megan Nadzan, University of Delaware

    Laura Mason, Ohio State University

  • 10 Aug 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Fall 2020 semester will look different for many of us as compared to previous semesters. Many of us will be teaching or assisting with courses in either an online or hybrid format (see Lang’s Small Teaching and Darby and Lang’s Small Teaching Online as a starting point). For some instructors, this will be informed by experiences in Spring 2020 (see some students’ reactions here). For others, this will be a completely new experience. To help you prepare, we want to offer some resources and strategies on ways to navigate teaching and supporting your students in these uncertain and unprecedented times, especially amidst the persisting pandemic and movements for equality. Additional resources can also be found on Every Learner Everywhere and Pedagogies of Care.

    Asynchronous online courses (i.e., students and the instructor do not meet during a specific time) necessitate unique considerations due to the lack of direct contact, as well as increased self-motivation required from students. Furthermore, consider the following when preparing to teach this format:

         The importance of first impressions through a welcome video: https://youtu.be/Lrh7hxh9r70

         Openly discuss your identities. For instance, your first course announcement/email could outline your background and ask students to do the same (Riggs & Linder, 2016).

         Be mindful of the diverse identities of students in your course. Think about how accessible your materials are for a student who is hearing and/or visually impaired (Pang, 2020).

         When determining how students will be assessed, be cognizant that recent research (Gernsbacher et al., 2020) posits that timed exams are not equitable or inclusive. See other assessment suggestions in the researchers’ paper.

         Prepare for potentially political discussions that might happen without the advantages of face-to-face interactions. Have a plan for addressing microaggressions and microinvalidations (Torres, 2018).

         To help you better determine how you will approach this method of teaching, see this resource, which compares and contrasts completely asynchronous courses (see here for a discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of including pre-recorded videos) to asynchronous course content but live class.

    Synchronous online courses (i.e., students and the instructor meet online regularly during a specific time) may maintain a similar structure as compared to traditional face-to-face classes, except the physical space of being in person. Here are some helpful strategies to keep in mind when preparing for synchronous online learning:

         Ice breakers may be helpful for the first day, as they have been shown to reduce stress and build connection between students and the instructor, especially in an online format where it is more difficult to have all students “go around the room” and share.

         Consider ways to maintain flexibility for students who need accommodations, such as closed captions, note taking, or whose attendance may be impacted by health-related factors or technology issues. Will class sessions be recorded for students to access at a later date? Will attendance be taken?

         Expect technical difficulties and have a back-up plan communicated to students on what to do should technology fail.

         Utilize live-stream discussion tools, like the “chat” and “reaction” features of Zoom or Top Hat to stimulate discussion and facilitate connection between students.

    Hybrid courses (i.e., students and the instructor may meet in person for some period of time, whereas online during other times) may be new to some, and more familiar for others. If new to hybrid teaching and learning, consider the following suggestions:

         When reviewing or designing a hybrid learning course, ask how the online and face-to-face components work together to address the learning outcomes, accommodate various learning modalities, allow students to engage with the course content in meaningful ways, and lead to deeper learning.

         Explain the rationale for using a hybrid learning approach and list the learning benefits (expect some resistance as students are pushed out of their learning comfort zones; Sands, 2002).

         Consider how much time you spend online versus in-person. Some things may be easier to implement online (such as classroom lectures), whereas other things may be more important to share face-to-face (e.g., activities, discussions, interactive learning).

         Consider using a flipped-class approach. This consists of preparing pre-recorded material for students to engage with ahead of the class meeting so that your time in-person (or online) can be used to connect more deeply with the material. More information about a flipped class approach can be found here.

         Communicate with your program faculty and university administrator about your concerns should face-to-face meetings become a problem. Keep in mind your role and identity as a student first and foremost to ensure you are well and stay protected.

         Expect the unexpected and be forgiving of not doing everything perfectly. There will be many new challenges with teaching partially in-person and partially online. One instructor described the experience of their in-person teaching COVID learning curve here.

    On another note, we also want to recognize that many of our colleagues have lost their teaching or assistantship positions because of the pandemic. While each college or university’s situation might be different, our desires and commitments to teach within these educational institutions remain the same. The ever-changing dynamics of the current pandemic are unprecedented, and we stand in solidarity with those who are unable to retain their teaching or other assistantships. Please know that we see you, we hear you, and we are with you. We hope to be of support for you in any way we can. If there is anything we can do, as a Steering Committee, to support our fellow colleagues experiencing such losses, please feel free to reach out to us and let us know of your situation and/or needs.


    GSTA Invited Speaker at APA 2020

    Dr. Amy Silvestri Hunter gave the GSTA invited address at the virtual 2020 APA Convention. Dr. Hunter is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Seton Hall University and the Associate Director of Project Syllabus, a compendium of model psychological syllabi sponsored by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2). Dr. Hunter provided a brief background on the empirical basis for the current rubric used to evaluate syllabi and then provided suggestions for easy-to-implement changes to ones’ syllabus consistent with the Project Syllabus rubric that are likely to enhance student satisfaction.


    GSTA Steering Committee

    Jessica Brodsky (Chair), The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Adam Green, Southern Illinois University

    Amy Maslowski (Deputy Chair), U. of North Dakota

    Laura Simon, Ohio State University

    Terrill Taylor, University of North Dakota

    Maaly Younis, University of Northern Colorado

  • 10 Jul 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At the beginning of June, the GSTA shared its position statement and call to action for graduate student teaching assistants and instructors of psychology. In this month’s Corner, we would like to share several resources for each of the action items that we identified. We recognize that these are just a few of the many amazing resources available and encourage you to share resources that you have found helpful with us through Facebook, Twitter (@gradsteachpsych), email, or the GSTA listserv.

    We also invite our community to engage with us in an ongoing dialogue about possible and effective ways to foster inclusion, equity, and anti-racism in our classrooms, institutions, and communities. Voicing your opinions, suggestions, and needs is crucial to guiding our work.

    Decolonize your syllabi by including the work of scholars and psychologists from diverse identities and backgrounds.

         An Extensive List of Scholars from Diverse Backgrounds - A list of BME (Black, Minority, or Ethnic) psychologists as well as anti-racist scholarly works.

         Spark Society's Resources for Taking Action - Contains a database of diverse cognitive psychologists and their fields of research.

         Influential and Diverse Psychologists - A list of nine influential psychologists from diverse backgrounds along with representative publications for each, most of which are readily accessible online through Google Scholar. Created by the GSTA.

    Adopt anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching and assessment practices.

         Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story - A TED Talk explaining the importance of adopting a responsive mindset and avoiding being ethnocentric.

         Scaffolding anti-racism resources - A comprehensive list of multiple resources that varies between books, podcasts, videos, and activities to become anti-racist.

         Culturally responsive teaching in special education for ethnically diverse students: Setting the stage - An article by Geneva Gay, a pioneer researcher in culturally responsive pedagogy, offering a detailed explanation of the model.

         Culturally Responsive Pedagogy- A great book introducing multiple perspectives and experiences on how to become a more culturally responsive educator.

    Create inclusive learning environments that celebrate diversity, do not tolerate discrimination, and embrace all voices and opinions.

         Diversity and Inclusion in the College Classroom - A Faculty Focus report with helpful suggestions such as laying the foundation for difficult dialogues, diffusing student resistance, teaching and learning respect and acceptance.

         MDC's Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning: Diversity Resources - A collection of videos, articles, workshops, course design suggestions and project-based service learning strategies.

         Social Justice Issues and Racism in the College Classroom: Perspectives from Different Voices - A great book outlining various international perspectives on social justice education.

    Discuss with students and colleagues how discrimination and inequity have shaped the field of psychology and the world around us.

         Recent research by Roberts and colleagues at the Social Concepts Lab at Stanford University can provide a helpful starting point for discussing racism in psychology and the United States.

         Should social scientists be distanced from or engaged with the people they study? - Journal article discussing how reliance on default samples and the distance perspective is associated with issues of generalizability and diversity in social and educational sciences.

         APA Guidelines on Race and Ethnicity in Psychology: Promoting Responsiveness and Equity (APA, 2019) - Guidelines 5 - 8 focus on promoting responsiveness and equity in psychology education and training and describe applications of these guidelines.

    Engage with students and colleagues across disciplines in activism to create change in your classrooms, institutions, and communities.

         Stirring up Racism - Journal article outlining social justice in the classroom for educators to assist students in starting the process of activism.

         Pushing the Edge - Podcasts about how to engage in social justice activism for students and teachers.

         Student Activism in School - How to Get Your Voice Heard - Guide on how to become a student activist.

    Above all, be compassionate and supportive to your students, your colleagues, and yourself during these times.

         The Heart of Learning & Teaching: Compassion, Resiliency, & Academic Success - Book with many resources & suggestions about including compassion into our classrooms.

         Educators, It’s Time to Put on Your Compassion Hats - Dutton & Worline (2020) wrote about embedding compassion into our classes.

         Resources to Help Teachers Heal, Learn, and Listen - Teach for America (TFA) compiled a list of anti-racist, student support, and self-care resources.



    GSTA Invited Speaker at APA 2020

    Looking ahead, we are also excited to announce that Dr. Amy Silvestri Hunter will give the GSTA invited address at the virtual 2020 APA Convention. Dr. Hunter is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at Seton Hall University and the Associate Director of Project Syllabus, a compendium of model psychological syllabi sponsored by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2). Elizabeth Che, former GSTA Chair, is honored to introduce Dr. Hunter as the GSTA invited address at the virtual 2020 APA convention.

    Dr. Hunter’s address, Project Syllabus: APA edition, is scheduled for Friday, August 7, 2020 from 10:00 – 10:50am. In this address, Dr. Hunter will provide a brief background on the empirical basis for the current rubric used to evaluate syllabi and then provide suggestions for easy-to-implement changes to ones’ syllabus consistent with the Project Syllabus rubric that are likely to enhance student satisfaction.


    GSTA Steering Committee

    Jessica Brodsky (Chair), The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Adam Green, Southern Illinois University

    Amy Maslowski (Deputy Chair), U. of North Dakota

    Laura Simon, Ohio State University

    Terrill Taylor, University of North Dakota

    Maaly Younis, University of Northern Colorado

  • 10 Jun 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Jessica Brodsky and Amy Maslowski

    We have a lot of exciting updates from the GSTA to share with you this month. The second volume of our e-book series How We Teach Now is now available, and we also have some leadership changes. More information below!

    New! Volume 2 of GSTA E-Book Series

    We are excited to announce that the second volume of the GSTA’s e-book series, How We Teach Now, is now available on the STP website! This volume, titled How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Transformative Teaching, offers evidence-based advice on transformative teaching practices and provides a handy reference for graduate students embarking on their teaching careers. The 34 chapters, authored by graduate students and expert teachers, emphasize the importance of getting to know your students, creating inclusive learning environments, designing instruction with learning objectives in mind, promoting active learning and community engagement, engaging students in authentic research and scientific inquiry, and fostering professional development, oral communication, and writing skills. We are deeply grateful to the contributing authors for taking the time to share their insights and experiences as part of this e-book!

    You can download and read the new volume and the first volume for free on the STP website.

    Leadership Changes in the GSTA

    Starting in June 2020, Jessica Brodsky and Amy Maslowski will take over as the Chair and Deputy Chair of the GSTA. We thank Elizabeth Che for her great leadership and efforts as the former Chair of the GSTA! We are also excited to introduce Laura Simon as the newest member of the GSTA Steering Committee.

    Jessica Brodsky, GSTA Chair

    Jessica Brodsky is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests include media literacy assessment and instruction, and development of online resources for teaching students how to read scientific texts. She teaches Experimental Psychology at Hunter College.

    Amy Maslowski, GSTA Deputy Chair

    Amy Maslowski is a Counseling Psychology doctoral student at the University of North Dakota. She received her master’s degree in Clinical-Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Amy has undergraduate instructor and graduate and undergraduate GTA experiences. She is involved in SoTL research and published and presented in ToP outlets.

    Laura Simon, GSTA Steering Committee Member

    Laura T. Simon is a Developmental Psychology Ph.D. student at the Ohio State University where she completed her M.A. in Intellectual and Developmental Disability Psychology. Laura has proudly taught Introduction to Psychology at Ohio State for over 3 years. Her primary research interest is anxiety in autism spectrum disorder.

    GSTA Steering Committee

    Jessica Brodsky (Chair), The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Adam Green, Southern Illinois University

    Amy Maslowski (Deputy Chair), University of North Dakota

    Laura Simon, Ohio State University

    Terrill Taylor, University of North Dakota

    Maaly Younis, University of Northern Colorado

  • 10 May 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Adam Green (Southern Illinois University) and Terrill Taylor (University of North Dakota)

    Teaching statistics for the social sciences is difficult for many reasons. Varying levels of stats familiarity, interest, and aptitude among students are just a few challenges that instructors must recognize in order to provide effective statistics instruction (Strangfeld, 2013). Students enter college with many different backgrounds in statistics and math in general. Even at the graduate level, students enter programs with diverse statistics experiences. Many/most students are not particularly interested in stats and must take the class simply to complete their degree requirements. In addition, some students have gotten the idea from past experiences/instructors that they are not ‘stats people’, which leads them to approach a stats class with an attitude of learned helplessness (Tomasetto et al., 2009).

    So what can you do about this? Thankfully, there are ways to address each of these issues, though there are never any miracle ‘cures’. Here, we provide a few tips and resources for grad students who teach stats.

         Use pre-tests! Knowing where your students are at in terms of statistics knowledge when you begin a course is crucial. Even if it means changing the syllabus, try your best to adapt your teaching plan to the needs of the students. Also, use a post-test at the end of the semester (the same as the pre-test and not for points) to get a clear picture of what impact your class made on their statistical skill (Delucchi, 2014).

         Curb your enthusiasm (at least a little). An instructor being enthusiastic about a topic is generally a good thing in teaching. However, as a graduate student who is teaching statistics to undergrads, you are probably much more into stats than your class is. To avoid ‘losing’ your class, try not to expect your students to find the same joy you might get from seeing a very normal distribution or a large effect size (Tomasetto et al., 2009). Show your students that you understand that statistics can be confusing and sometimes tedious. That being said, some energy will always make your lessons more interesting for your students!

         Acknowledge your mistakes. One thing we all learn upon entering graduate school is that we do not have the time or energy, let alone the capacity, to be perfect. This applies to our statistics know-how as well. One thing about teaching is that we instructors learn new things each time we teach a course, whether through updates in the field or learning that we were mistaken about something the whole time. If you slip up or find out new information later which proves you wrong on something, you are being a good teacher when you let your class know that you were wrong and correct the information.

         Make the material relatable. Understanding statistics can be a daunting process, especially when the examples used in stats problems in and of themselves are tough to comprehend. It can be helpful to ask the class for topics or issues that they may be interested in and use this to help present/teach the material. This can be done by incorporating topics of student’s interest in your teaching presentation or offering assignments that allow students flexibility to create their own examples. Nonetheless, being flexible can go far!

    For further ideas for activities or ways to improve your teaching, check out this new e-book by the STP.

    References

    Delucchi, M. (2014). Measuring student learning in social statistics: A pretest-posttest study of knowledge gain. Teaching Sociology, 42(3), 231-239.

    Strangfeld, J. A. (2013). Promoting active learning: Student-led data gathering in undergraduate statistics. Teaching Sociology, 41(2), 199-206.

    Tomasetto, C., Matteucci, M. C., Carugati, F., & Selleri, P. (2009). Effect of task presentation on students’ performances in introductory statistics courses. Social Psychology of Education, 12(2), 191-211.

  • 10 Apr 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    submitted by GSTA Steering Committee

    We wanted to start this Corner by acknowledging the incredible work that many instructors have been doing to transition their courses online, support their students and mentees, and take care of themselves and their loved ones in this challenging time. We are also deeply grateful to all the instructors who have generously shared their materials, strategies, and words of encouragement with others. In this spirit, we’ve dedicated the first part of this Corner to sharing some of the strategies and resources that we, as graduate student instructors and teaching assistants, have found especially helpful. We hope you will find these useful too!

    Supporting Our Students:

         Communication is essential. Send students emails to keep in touch -- social distancing can be lonely but it doesn’t stop us from establishing a supportive community. Post announcements on the course website / learning platform (e.g., Blackboard) to update and inform students about course expectations and their progress. Remind students that you are still available during office hours (and outside of those hours) to talk about class, as well as other concerns (as you feel appropriate).

         Be flexible with students: this is a tough time for everyone. If you typically enforce a strict policy (e.g., no late work), be more willing to accommodate student requests. Some institutions have decided to provide students and/or course instructors the option to choose whether they would like to change the grading guidelines to Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory as compared to traditional letter grades. Given the unforeseen circumstances that have likely impacted students’ learning opportunities, advocating for such grading changes for your courses may be appropriate.

         Many students may be unfamiliar with learning online, so be prepared to offer students guidance. While this document is tailored to students at the City University of New York, many of the strategies are useful to students transitioning to distance learning at any university.

         Compassion in the times of uncertainty is a key to help your students transition to online learning. Students may be going through major life changes in terms of their living situation and access to resources. To help address students’ higher levels of loneliness and anxiety, it may be helpful to provide an ungraded discussion board for students to share news, stories, comments and stay connected to you and to other classmates.

    Support for Instructors:

         Don’t approach the current mid-semester transition to online courses in the same way that you would approach developing and teaching an online course. Instead, Fox’s blog post, titled, Please do a bad job of putting your courses online, can help you think through how to move your course online in a way that supports your students’ needs and recognizes the difficult circumstances that you and your students are facing.

         Read and share resources with colleagues. Here is an evolving collection of co-authored resources that may help you navigate teaching online with contributions including Jacqueline Wernimont (Dartmouth College, USA), and Cathy N. Davidson (CUNY Graduate Center, USA). You can also join the STP Facebook page to learn about the awesome and creative ways other GTAs and professors are navigating this online teaching world!

         If possible, allow students to complete the course work asynchronously (with synchronous office hours and/or group review sessions). Some students might not be able to attend synchronous classes and need alternative support. If you do decide to include a synchronous component in your course, it can be helpful to establish guidelines and norms for the online learning environment. These might include a conversation about muting microphones when not speaking, operating camera placement, considerations on the setting and whether it is okay for other individuals to be around. Providing support to students and working collaboratively to address students' concerns are important.

         Refer students to appropriate resources for managing difficulties they may experience online. This may include IT support for internet issues, or approaching situations with grace should students experience connection difficulties. It may also require additional efforts and compassion to ensure students have the necessary equipment needed to successfully complete the course.

    Most importantly, be kind to yourself, especially if it is your first time teaching online. Remember that your students will remember your kindness and compassion during this time more than anything else!

    Upcoming Changes to GSTA Leadership

    GSTA Chair, Elizabeth S. Che, will step down June 1, 2020. Liz served as the GSTA Deputy Chair from January 2017-December 2018 and has been Chair since January 2019. We thank Liz for her leadership and many contributions to the success of the GSTA! Current GSTA Deputy Chair, Jessica E. Brodsky, will be taking over as Chair for the remaining term.

    Join the GSTA Steering Committee!

    We seek one new member to join the GSTA’s six-person Steering Committee starting June 1, 2020 for a six-month term, with the option to extend for another year. The Steering Committee oversees GSTA budget, expectations, and programming. Steering Committee members are expected to meet regularly in person/teleconference/video conference.

    If you are interested in joining the GSTA Steering Committee, please complete this form by May 15th, 2020. Please email Jessica Brodsky with any questions.

    Other GSTA Activities and Initiatives

    For regular updates on GSTA activities, follow us on Twitter (@gradsteachpsych) and Facebook, check out our Blog, or write to us at gsta@teachpsych.org.

    You can find out more about us at teachpsych.org/gsta/index.php or at the GSTA resource website, where we periodically post ideas and materials.

    GSTA Steering Committee

    Elizabeth Che (Chair), The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Jessica Brodsky (Associate Chair), The Graduate Center, CUNY

    Adam Greene, Southern Illinois University

    Amy Maslowski, University of North Dakota

    Terrill Taylor, University of North Dakota

    Maaly Younis, University of Northern Colorado

  • 10 Mar 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On October 25, 2019, the GSTA held our Tenth Annual Pedagogy Day Conference at the CUNY Graduate Center. Pedagogy Day is a forum for doctoral students and faculty to come together to think collectively about pedagogy and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in today’s diverse undergraduate classrooms. The theme of the conference was Transformative Teaching. Transformative pedagogy moves beyond the traditional “information-transmission” teaching paradigm by providing students with the knowledge and skills to become engaged citizens empowered to make positive changes in the world.

    Our keynote presentation was delivered by Professor Cathy N. Davidson from the Graduate Center, CUNY. Professor Davidson is the co-founder of the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory Her presentation was inspired by her recent award-winning book The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World In Flux. In her workshop, titled Revolutionizing Learning, Professor Davidson looked at the origins of the modern research university and its current legacy presence. She addressed the changes we need to make now and then focused on ways that each and every one of us can begin—right now—to make changes in our own classrooms that help our students to learn better and make teaching more satisfying for professors too.

    You can view the video here.

    CANCELED: GSTA meet-up at EPA

    The GSTA teaching symposia and informal meet-up at EPA 2020 have been cancelled due to the majority of presenters and organizers traveling from the New York area. Sorry for the inconvenience!

    However, if you’re a graduate student presenting Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research at EPA, please let us know the time and topic of your presentation and we’ll be happy to share it on Twitter! Tweet us at @gradsteachpsych or send us an email at gsta@teachpsych.org.

  • 10 Feb 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    GSTA at NITOP 2020

    GSTA members had a great time at the 2020 National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology in St. Pete Beach, FL. It was inspiring to meet so many dedicated and innovative instructors of psychology!

    Say Hi to the GSTA at EPA!

    Members and former members of the GSTA will be presenting at this year’s Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) Conference taking place in Boston from Thursday, March 12 to Saturday, March 14. If you are in the Boston area, please join us!

    GSTA Meet-Up at EPA

    Grab a drink and join us at 5pm on Friday, March 13, 2020 at M.J. O’Connor’s at the Park Plaza Hotel. All are welcome, especially graduate students and early career psychologists!

    GSTA Members Presenting at EPA

    GSTA members have organized several symposia that are part of the STP’s Teaching Symposium Series. On Friday, March 13 (11am-12:20pm in the Stuart Room), we will be sharing recent findings on “Teaching Attitudes and Behaviors of Novice College Instructors.” This symposium will describe results from two surveys distributed through the GSTA assessing graduate student instructors’ approaches to teaching, model teaching characteristics, emphasis on workforce-relevant skills, and awareness of students’ academic motivations.

    Just a few minutes later (12:30-1:50pm in the Stuart Room), we will be sharing strategies for “Transformative Pedagogy,” including a flipped learning model, embedding quantitative reasoning throughout the curriculum, and using role-play to increase understanding of research ethics. Many of our presenters are also authors of chapters in the upcoming second volume of the GSTA’s e-book series How We Teach Now. This a great opportunity to get a sneak peek of just a few of the great resources in the new volume!

    Presenting at EPA? Let us know!

    Let us know the time and topic of your presentation and we’ll share it on Twitter! Tweet us at @gradsteachpsych or send us an email at gsta@teachpsych.org.GSTA Listserv

    The GSTA has an online discussion list DIV2GSTA, To join the listserv, visit here and click on “Subscribe or Unsubscribe” in the Options box on the right side of the screen. After you subscribe, you may send messages to the list at DIV2GSTA@lists.apa.org.

  • 10 Jan 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As you may have heard, 2020 marks a big change for the GSTA. Starting this year, the GSTA has moved away from having a designated host institution to a regional model with representatives from institutions around the country. We thank the Graduate Center, CUNY for hosting the GSTA for the past two terms and Dr. Patricia Brooks for serving as the GSTA Faculty Advisor during this time.

    We are excited to announce that four new at-large members will join the Chair and Deputy Chair in steering the GSTA for 2020! Dr. Meera Komarraju, Vice President for Membership will serve as the new GSTA Faculty Advisor. The steering committee will have its first virtual meeting in January to discuss GSTA budget, expectations, and programming. We look forward to working together to support graduate student instructors!

    Meet the 2020 GSTA Steering Committee!

    GSTA Chair

    Elizabeth Che is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests include the use of Wikipedia editing to develop students’ writing and other teaching practices that foster development of workforce relevant skills. She teaches Introductory Psychology at the College of Staten Island.

    GSTA Deputy Chair

    Jessica Brodsky is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology Program at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests include media literacy assessment and instruction, and development of online resources for teaching students how to read scientific texts. She teaches Experimental Psychology at Hunter College.

    GSTA Steering Committee Members

    Adam Green is a master's (en route to doctoral) student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His research interests involve moral and political beliefs. He has assisted in several courses including Research Methods, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Advanced Statistics. He hopes to support and improve GTA experiences through the GTSA.

    Amy Maslowski is a Counseling Psychology doctoral student at the University of North Dakota. She received her master’s degree in Clinical-Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Amy has undergraduate instructor and graduate and undergraduate GTA experiences. She is involved in SoTL research and published and presented in ToP outlets.

    Terrill Taylor is a Counseling Psychology doctoral student at the University of North Dakota. He has served in several teaching experiences at the graduate level, which includes having taught courses on research, introductory psychology, and helping skills. He is currently the lead instructor for an undergraduate course on U.S. diversity.

    Maaly Younis is an Educational Psychology doctoral student at the University of Northern Colorado. Her major areas of research are studies of transformative learning and academic engagement in teacher education, Photovoice, and culturally responsive pedagogy. She teaches several undergraduate courses such as Introductory Psychology, Educational Psychology & Psychological Statistics.

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