Training for Teaching Support Providers

Training Available for Teaching Support Staff (compulsory for new providers)

 

Schedules for 2020/2021

PLEASE NOTE

These training sessions are subject to change. Please check regularly for any time or venue changes

Schedule for Semester 1

Schedule for Semester 2

 

Aims and Learning Objectives of the Training sessions

Informatics has set up a one-year long programme of training for Teaching Support Staff [TSS] with help from the Institute for Academic Development [IAD]. This training is open to all students and staff with current teaching roles including tutoring, demonstrating, marking or being a teaching assistant in Informatics.

The  following are the main aims of the training:

  1. Enabling teaching support staff to meet and discuss issues of direct relevance to their roles;
  2. Encouraging the voicing and discussion of concerns regarding teaching;
  3. Advising on
    • activities that teaching support staff could undertake in their teaching according to the literature;
    • tips and tricks for improving their teaching according to the literature;
    • methods that they could use to evaluate their teaching according to the literature;
    • the main university online learning environments that they can use for the delivery of teaching and student support.
  4. Raising awareness about
    • School of Informatics and University of Edinburgh policies, rules and regulations pertaining to their position(s)useful sources of support
    • the teaching accreditations offered by the Higher Education Academy [HEA], and the courses offered by the university in support of applications to them, for teaching support staff who are interested in developing their teaching beyond the basics.

As a result of training, teaching support staff will be able to (learning objectives):

  1. Carry out the responsibilities attached to their role in a manner which respects the requirements, processes and deadlines imposed by the School of Informatics and University of Edinburgh.
  2. Use the features of the university online learning environments which would allow them to carry out their responsibilities in a hybrid context.
  3. Understand what makes a good teacher in their role (in terms of both teaching and student support), according to pedagogic literature and the experience of peers and academics
  4. Be equipped with strategies for having a positive impact on their students’ learning, engagement in their learning and professional development
  5. Pursue continuous professional development in terms of teaching through evaluation using a range of approaches  (involving students, peers or self-evaluation), reading of pedagogical literature and potentially working towards an HEA Teaching Accreditation through university or self-directed routes.

The training promotes the importance of developing one's teaching, even if not pursuing an academic career.  In 2020-2021, it consists of an intensive programme of training over the Induction Weeks, as well as 5-6 additional training sessions per semester, ranging from essential to more advanced. There is no requirement to sign up for the synchronous delivery of these sessions in advance, and they can also be tackled asynchronously in one's own time. Attendance will be closely monitored during synchronous sessions, and through the submitting of correct responses to quizzes in the asynchronous mode.

 

Training in 2020-2021

In the 2020-2021 academic year, teaching support staff training will be delivered both synchronously as well as asynchronously.

The synchronous training will take place over Blackboard Collaborate and consist of a series of one to two-hour sessions, the frequency of which will depend on the time during the semester (please see the schedule section from below). Teaching support staff (with an active teaching support contract) will be automatically paid for their attendance to this training, as long as the topic of the training is related to role(s) that they can occupy.

The asynchronous training will be delivered as part of a Blackboard Learn course to which teaching support staff are highly encouraged to self-enrol: Informatics Teaching Support Provider  Training (2020/21).  You can find instructions on how to self-enrol via LEARN here

The asynchronous training will consist of:

  • a series of teaching-related questions and tasks provided for discussion and reflection in advance of each synchronous session
  • video recordings of the presentation parts of the synchronous session, after it takes place
  • a quiz to check understanding and prove your attendance after the synchronous session takes place.  

The above material will be added to the Learn course as the year progresses, and teaching support staff will be able to complete the questions, tasks and quizzes at any time. On submitting a quiz with correct answers for a training session, teaching support staff (with an active teaching support contract) will be automatically paid for their virtual attendance to this training (for the same amount of hours as its synchronous equivalent), as long as the topic of the training is related to role(s) that they can occupy.

Induction Week Sessions

1. 'Essentials'

  • There are 4 one hour 'Essentials' sessions, one for each of the following roles in Informatics: tutoring, demonstrating, marking and being a TA
  • They are repeated each semester, during Induction Week, and can alternatively be completed via Learn.
  • Their main purpose is that of getting new teaching support staff started in their role(s) by detailing responsibilities and expectations according to policies, rules and regulations, advising on sources of support and offering them some initial advice. However, experienced teaching support staff are also welcome, and will also be paid for their attendance at the regular hourly rate.
  • Each 'Essentials' session (relevant to the role) is compulsory for new teaching support staff, prior to commencing any work (e.g. 'Essentials of Being a Demonstrator in Informatics' is compulsory for demonstrators).
  • Attendance (synchronously or via the Learn course) will be strictly monitored and absenteism may affect employment as teaching support staff in the future. 
  • Those teaching support staff who occupy several different roles are expected to attend all of the appropriate 'Essentials' sessions.

2. 'Basics of Online Learning Environments'

  • There are 5 'Bascics of Online Environments' sessions, covering the tools that will be used most frequently for the online delivery of courses in our school (Blackboard Collaborate, Piazza, Blackboard Learn) and their different uses for the teaching support staff
  • Follow the 'Essentials' sessions, also during Induction Week  or can alternatively be completed via Learn.
  • Their main purpose is that of getting new teaching support staff started in their role(s) by demonstrating and trying out together the onine learning environments that most of them will be using. For other tools that the course organisers may require them to use, the teaching support staff should seek advice and guidance from their course organisers.
  • Each 'Basics of Online Learning Environments' session (relevant to the role) is compulsory for new teaching support staff, prior to commencing any work
  • Attendance (synchronously or via the Learn course) will be strictly monitored and absenteism may affect employment as teaching support staff in the future. 
  • Those teaching support staff who occupy several different roles are expected to attend all of the appropriate 'Basics of Online Learning Environments' sessions.

More Advanced Sessions Throught the Semesters

Following the 'Essentials' sessions, more detailed sessions on teaching are conducted the rest of the semester. They will not be normally repeated in Semester 2, unless there is a clear demand for this from participants. These sessions focus more on improving one's teaching and student support in terms of activities, strategies, the tackling of common difficulties.

 

General University Support for Tutors and Demonstrators, via the Institute for Academic Development

Additionally, the Institute for Academic Development (IAD) provides the University with a number of useful resources related to teaching development, particularly for tutors and demonstrators.  These are targeted to all staff/students from across the University and are therefore generic in character.  The IAD workshops are recommended especially if for some reason you cannot participate in the Informatics tutors' sessions, or if you are interested in developing your teaching further.

Informatics teaching support staff are welcome to attend any of the training sessions run by IAD, however, unlike the the local training provided, this would normally be unpaid.  For further information please contact Informatics Student Services.​