Exploring Practices and Development of Teaching Assistants in Computing Education (MSci Project Presentation)

Published: 14 April 2023

James Bradford presents his MSci project about attitudes and perceptions of teaching assistants in CS.

TITLE: Exploring Practices and Development of Teaching Assistants in Computing Education
SPEAKER: James Bradford
DATE: 17th April 2023
TIME: 13:00-14:00
Teaching Assistants (TAs) are commonly used in Computing Education (CE) programmes, often facilitating practical lab sessions, holding office hours, and marking student works to enable course instructors to oversee large entry level courses they would not be able to manage themselves. Despite their prevalance, they are not that well explored in research. There is a widely held belief that they are a good idea, but most understanding of their actions and effects is anecdotal. This work aims to explore the perceptions, beliefs and development of teaching assistants, and how these or other factors influence the practices of TAs within their classes. Employing a mixed methods approach, combining a quantitative survey informed by existing research, and qualitative interviews of TAs, to produce a grounded theory on how teaching assistants execute their role, and what informs their decisions. The findings of this study allow a partial theory to be presented - limited by the available sample - indicating that the primary driver of TA behaviour is their own experience as a student.

First published: 14 April 2023