Publication Details

S. Nikolic, P. James. Vial, M. Ros, D. Stirling & C. Ritz, "Improving the laboratory learning experience: a process to train and manage teaching assistants," IEEE Transactions on Education, vol. 58, (2) pp. 130-139, 2015.


This paper describes in detail a successful training program developed for sessional (part-time or nonpermanent) laboratory demonstrators employed in the Electrical Engineering Department of an Australian university. Such demonstrators play an important role in teaching practical concepts and skills in engineering. The success of the program relies on a centralized approach coordinated by a carefully selected Laboratory Manager responsible for the recruitment, allocation, training, and development of sessional teachers, and for assessing student satisfaction with them. The paper examines the overall impact of the program on these teachers': 1) introducing laboratory material; 2) preparation; 3) communication; 4) interest in student learning; 5) ability to respond to questions; and 6) overall effectiveness. Sessional teacher satisfaction with the training program is also examined, and the data were used to inform the program's further development. The results show that the training program successfully improved the demonstrators' teaching skills and thus led to greater satisfaction and hence learning experience of both students and demonstrators.



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