1887

The Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Experience Offers Opportunities Similar to the Undergraduate Research Experience

    Authors: Kelly A. Schalk1, J. Randy McGinnis1, Jeffrey R. Harring2, Amy Hendrickson3, Ann C. Smith4,*
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland; 2: Department of Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland; 3: The College Board, Washington, District of Columbia; and; 4: Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 17 May 2009
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, 1133B Microbiology Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. Phone: (301) 405-5443. Fax: (301) 314-9489. E-mail: asmith@umd.edu.
    • Copyright © 2009, American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2009 vol. 10 no. 1 32-42. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v10.97
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    Abstract:

    There has been a growing concern in higher education about our failure to produce scientifically trained workers and scientifically literate citizens. Active-learning and research-oriented activities are posited as ways to give students a deeper understanding of science. We report on an undergraduate teaching assistant (UTA) experience and suggest that students who participate as a UTA obtain benefits analogous to those who participate as an undergraduate research assistant (URA). We examined the experiences of 24 undergraduates acting as UTAs in a general microbiology course. Self-reported gains by the UTAs were supported by observational data from undergraduates in the course who were mentored by the UTAs and by the graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) with whom the UTAs worked. Specifically, data from the UTAs’ journals and self-reported Likert scales and rubrics indicated that our teaching assistants developed professional characteristics such as self-confidence and communication and leadership skills, while they acquired knowledge of microbiology content and laboratory skills. Data from the undergraduate Likert scale as well as the pre- and post-GTA rubrics further confirmed our UTA’s data interpretations. These findings are significant because they offer empirical data to support the suggestion that the UTA experience is an effective option for developing skills and knowledge in undergraduates that are essential for careers in science. The UTA experience provides a valuable alternative to the URA experience.

Key Concept Ranking

Chemicals
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Lead
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Corn
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Endospores
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Spring
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Fermentation
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0.5723684

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org.apache.jasper.servlet.JspServlet.service(JspServlet.java:259) at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:790) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletHandler.handleRequest(ServletHandler.java:86) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler.handleRequest(FilterHandler.java:82) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.security.ServletSecurityRoleHandler.handleRequest(ServletSecurityRoleHandler.java:62) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletDispatchingHandler.handleRequest(ServletDispatchingHandler.java:36) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletInitialHandler.dispatchRequest(ServletInitialHandler.java:250) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletInitialHandler.dispatchToServlet(ServletInitialHandler.java:199) at io.undertow.servlet.spec.RequestDispatcherImpl.include(RequestDispatcherImpl.java:279) at org.apache.jasper.runtime.JspRuntimeLibrary.include(JspRuntimeLibrary.java:940) at org.apache.jasper.runtime.PageContextImpl.doInclude(PageContextImpl.java:639) at org.apache.jasper.runtime.PageContextImpl.include(PageContextImpl.java:633) at com.ingenta.jsp.skins.SkinUtils.include(SkinUtils.java:516) at com.ingenta.jsp.page.PageBodyTag.invokeTemplate(PageBodyTag.java:277) at com.ingenta.jsp.page.PageBodyTag.doTag(PageBodyTag.java:254) at org.apache.jsp.WEB_002dINF.jsp.journal.article_jsp._jspx_meth_p_005fbody_005f0(article_jsp.java:785) at org.apache.jsp.WEB_002dINF.jsp.journal.article_jsp._jspx_meth_auth_005flicence_005f0(article_jsp.java:248) at org.apache.jsp.WEB_002dINF.jsp.journal.article_jsp._jspService(article_jsp.java:161) at org.apache.jasper.runtime.HttpJspBase.service(HttpJspBase.java:69) at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:790) at org.apache.jasper.servlet.JspServletWrapper.service(JspServletWrapper.java:366) at org.apache.jasper.servlet.JspServlet.serviceJspFile(JspServlet.java:326) at org.apache.jasper.servlet.JspServlet.service(JspServlet.java:259) at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(HttpServlet.java:790) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletHandler.handleRequest(ServletHandler.java:86) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler.handleRequest(FilterHandler.java:82) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.security.ServletSecurityRoleHandler.handleRequest(ServletSecurityRoleHandler.java:62) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletDispatchingHandler.handleRequest(ServletDispatchingHandler.java:36) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletInitialHandler.dispatchRequest(ServletInitialHandler.java:250) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletInitialHandler.dispatchToPath(ServletInitialHandler.java:193) at io.undertow.servlet.spec.RequestDispatcherImpl.forward(RequestDispatcherImpl.java:160) at org.apache.struts2.dispatcher.ServletDispatcherResult.doExecute(ServletDispatcherResult.java:164) at org.apache.struts2.dispatcher.StrutsResultSupport.execute(StrutsResultSupport.java:186) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.executeResult(DefaultActionInvocation.java:371) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:275) at org.apache.struts2.interceptor.debugging.DebuggingInterceptor.intercept(DebuggingInterceptor.java:256) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.DefaultWorkflowInterceptor.doIntercept(DefaultWorkflowInterceptor.java:167) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:98) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.validator.ValidationInterceptor.doIntercept(ValidationInterceptor.java:265) at org.apache.struts2.interceptor.validation.AnnotationValidationInterceptor.doIntercept(AnnotationValidationInterceptor.java:68) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:98) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ConversionErrorInterceptor.intercept(ConversionErrorInterceptor.java:138) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ParametersInterceptor.doIntercept(ParametersInterceptor.java:239) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:98) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ParametersInterceptor.doIntercept(ParametersInterceptor.java:239) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:98) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.StaticParametersInterceptor.intercept(StaticParametersInterceptor.java:191) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at org.apache.struts2.interceptor.MultiselectInterceptor.intercept(MultiselectInterceptor.java:73) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at org.apache.struts2.interceptor.CheckboxInterceptor.intercept(CheckboxInterceptor.java:91) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at org.apache.struts2.interceptor.FileUploadInterceptor.intercept(FileUploadInterceptor.java:252) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ModelDrivenInterceptor.intercept(ModelDrivenInterceptor.java:100) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ScopedModelDrivenInterceptor.intercept(ScopedModelDrivenInterceptor.java:141) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ChainingInterceptor.intercept(ChainingInterceptor.java:145) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.PrepareInterceptor.doIntercept(PrepareInterceptor.java:171) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.MethodFilterInterceptor.intercept(MethodFilterInterceptor.java:98) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.I18nInterceptor.intercept(I18nInterceptor.java:161) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at org.apache.struts2.interceptor.ServletConfigInterceptor.intercept(ServletConfigInterceptor.java:164) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.AliasInterceptor.intercept(AliasInterceptor.java:193) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.interceptor.ExceptionMappingInterceptor.intercept(ExceptionMappingInterceptor.java:189) at com.opensymphony.xwork2.DefaultActionInvocation.invoke(DefaultActionInvocation.java:246) at 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io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.contenttools.filter.ModificationInfoFilter.doFilter(ModificationInfoFilter.java:162) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.contenttools.filter.WeblogMonthFilter.doFilter(WeblogMonthFilter.java:107) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.contenttools.filter.RdfsLabelFilter.doFilter(RdfsLabelFilter.java:100) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at 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io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.webutils.web.filter.locator.LocatorFilter.doFilter(LocatorFilter.java:80) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.webutils.web.filter.ContentBrowsingHistoryFilter.doFilter(ContentBrowsingHistoryFilter.java:125) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.webutils.web.filter.rewrite.UrlRewriterFilter.doFilter(UrlRewriterFilter.java:284) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.webutils.web.filter.BrowsingHistoryFilter.doFilter(BrowsingHistoryFilter.java:125) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.webutils.web.filter.UserAgentWrapFilter.doFilter(UserAgentWrapFilter.java:159) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.cache.providers.monitoredehcache.MonitoredehcacheFilter.doFilter(MonitoredehcacheFilter.java:33) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.contenttools.web.filter.ContentAdminModelInjectionFilter.doFilter(ContentAdminModelInjectionFilter.java:69) at org.springframework.web.filter.DelegatingFilterProxy.invokeDelegate(DelegatingFilterProxy.java:237) at org.springframework.web.filter.DelegatingFilterProxy.doFilter(DelegatingFilterProxy.java:167) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.ingenta.servlet.filter.AbstractFilter.doFilter(AbstractFilter.java:120) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.webutils.web.filter.ConditionalHeaderFilter.doFilter(ConditionalHeaderFilter.java:42) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.journalproduct.web.filter.ThrottlingFilter.doFilter(ThrottlingFilter.java:104) at com.pub2web.journalproduct.web.filter.BypassableThrottlingFilter.doFilter(BypassableThrottlingFilter.java:136) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at com.pub2web.webutils.web.filter.EncodingFilter.doFilter(EncodingFilter.java:82) at io.undertow.servlet.core.ManagedFilter.doFilter(ManagedFilter.java:60) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler$FilterChainImpl.doFilter(FilterHandler.java:132) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.FilterHandler.handleRequest(FilterHandler.java:85) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.security.ServletSecurityRoleHandler.handleRequest(ServletSecurityRoleHandler.java:62) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletDispatchingHandler.handleRequest(ServletDispatchingHandler.java:36) at org.wildfly.extension.undertow.security.SecurityContextAssociationHandler.handleRequest(SecurityContextAssociationHandler.java:78) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.security.SSLInformationAssociationHandler.handleRequest(SSLInformationAssociationHandler.java:131) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.security.ServletAuthenticationCallHandler.handleRequest(ServletAuthenticationCallHandler.java:57) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.security.handlers.AbstractConfidentialityHandler.handleRequest(AbstractConfidentialityHandler.java:46) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.security.ServletConfidentialityConstraintHandler.handleRequest(ServletConfidentialityConstraintHandler.java:64) at io.undertow.security.handlers.AuthenticationMechanismsHandler.handleRequest(AuthenticationMechanismsHandler.java:58) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.security.CachedAuthenticatedSessionHandler.handleRequest(CachedAuthenticatedSessionHandler.java:70) at io.undertow.security.handlers.SecurityInitialHandler.handleRequest(SecurityInitialHandler.java:76) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at org.wildfly.extension.undertow.security.jacc.JACCContextIdHandler.handleRequest(JACCContextIdHandler.java:61) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.server.handlers.PredicateHandler.handleRequest(PredicateHandler.java:43) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletInitialHandler.handleFirstRequest(ServletInitialHandler.java:261) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletInitialHandler.dispatchRequest(ServletInitialHandler.java:248) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletInitialHandler.access$000(ServletInitialHandler.java:77) at io.undertow.servlet.handlers.ServletInitialHandler$1.handleRequest(ServletInitialHandler.java:167) at io.undertow.server.Connectors.executeRootHandler(Connectors.java:199) at io.undertow.server.HttpServerExchange$1.run(HttpServerExchange.java:761) at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.runWorker(ThreadPoolExecutor.java:1142) at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor$Worker.run(ThreadPoolExecutor.java:617) at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:745) Caused by: java.net.URISyntaxException: Illegal character in opaque part at index 44: info:doi/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199902)36:2<201::AID-TEA6>3.0.CO;2-H at java.net.URI$Parser.fail(URI.java:2848) at java.net.URI$Parser.checkChars(URI.java:3021) at java.net.URI$Parser.parse(URI.java:3058) at java.net.URI.(URI.java:588) at java.net.URI.create(URI.java:850) ... 220 more
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v10.97
2009-05-17
2017-11-20

Abstract:

There has been a growing concern in higher education about our failure to produce scientifically trained workers and scientifically literate citizens. Active-learning and research-oriented activities are posited as ways to give students a deeper understanding of science. We report on an undergraduate teaching assistant (UTA) experience and suggest that students who participate as a UTA obtain benefits analogous to those who participate as an undergraduate research assistant (URA). We examined the experiences of 24 undergraduates acting as UTAs in a general microbiology course. Self-reported gains by the UTAs were supported by observational data from undergraduates in the course who were mentored by the UTAs and by the graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) with whom the UTAs worked. Specifically, data from the UTAs’ journals and self-reported Likert scales and rubrics indicated that our teaching assistants developed professional characteristics such as self-confidence and communication and leadership skills, while they acquired knowledge of microbiology content and laboratory skills. Data from the undergraduate Likert scale as well as the pre- and post-GTA rubrics further confirmed our UTA’s data interpretations. These findings are significant because they offer empirical data to support the suggestion that the UTA experience is an effective option for developing skills and knowledge in undergraduates that are essential for careers in science. The UTA experience provides a valuable alternative to the URA experience.

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Image of FIG. 1.

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FIG. 1.

A diagrammatic representation of each instrument used to gather data on the UTA experience with respect to communication, leadership skills, knowledge, and self-confidence.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2009 vol. 10 no. 1 32-42. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v10.97
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Image of FIG. 2.

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FIG. 2.

A bar graph summary of the undergraduates’ positive and negative responses. The green bars are positive comments made in response to “state what you liked most about your UTA.” The red bars are those comments made in response to: “state if there was anything you didn’t like about your UTA experience.” In the first column there were 220 responses where students reported “nothing negative” (no neg) to the question: “state if there was anything you didn’t like about your UTA experience.” Thus, this bar has a green and red pattern. Overall, there were 715 positively scored undergraduates’ responses and 84 negatively scored responses.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2009 vol. 10 no. 1 32-42. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v10.97
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