Alignment and Development of an Online Programme for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Partner Institutions

Project Lead: Trinity College Dublin

Project Partners: National University of Ireland Galway, Marino Institute of Education, Institute of Art, Design and Technology


Increased student numbers, resource constraints and pressure on academic time have resulted in a growing dependence on graduate teaching assistants (TAs) to teach and support learning. TAs engage in a variety of valued teaching roles including tutorials, seminars, lectures, undergraduate research supervision and demonstrating in laboratories and field settings. Some TAs are presented with course materials to interpret and deliver, while others develop, deliver and assess learning activities, complimentary to module outcomes.

Given the increasing reliance on TAs for undergraduate teaching, there is a growing demand from schools and from TAs themselves to support their development on a larger and more sustainable scale. There are currently a limited number of professional development opportunities for TAs across our institutions, many of them informal, ‘one off’ training workshops, many of them overlapping, but with some notable gaps.

We propose to align the existing institutional initiatives from the named institutions to the professional development framework. We also want to broaden the scope of current offerings to address any gaps. For example, a gap has been identified in our institutions for TAs in STEM subjects who do a lot of their teaching in laboratories.

We will create a 5 ECTs online programme that aligns to the framework domains, and includes research-informed multimedia content and a workshop package indicating formative assessment, peer interaction activities and links to websites and resources. It may be used by any institution 1) independently as a 5 ECTs online professional qualification in teaching & learning for TAs (accreditation according to each Institution’s procedures), or 2) 5 discrete areas of professional development, with accompanying workshop packages to include templates, and multimedia content. Each discrete area could allow TAs to earn a badge. This proposed structure can thus supplement or extend existing programmes, be delivered as blended, or be a standalone badge

Primary Contact(s)

Ciara O’Farrell

Trinity College Dublin