TAs define good teaching during last full day of this year's SITT

What makes good teaching? UC Davis Ecology graduate student Mara Evans listed four qualities during day four of the Summer Institute on Teaching and Technology--organization, communication, consistency and creativity. And she had a specific caution for faculty who teach with technology: Use it in moderation.

Evans was one of three teaching assistants who spoke during "More Than Your Personal AV Club: TAs Speak Out About Instructional Technologies" in 26 Wellman Thursday morning. The other speakers were Michelle Yates, a graduate student in American Studies, and Madhu Rajagopal, a graduate student in the School of Medicine's Department of Human Physiology.

Much of their advice was straightforward and not directly focused on educational tech. Have a clear syllabus. Set expectations and stick to them. Be organized. Communicate clearly. Be predictable--for instance, start and stop classes on time.

Evans mentioned technology when she moved on to her fourth category, creativity.

"There's a lot of technology available to you," she told the audience, most of whom are instructors and have been hearing about the smart use of technology all week. "Use it in moderation, and communicate to your students what you expect them to get out of that technology."

She also asked instructors to consider:

--Bringing in guest lecturers to discuss how, in their everyday lives, they use the information discussed in the class.

--And letting TAs participate in the creative process by presenting their own research or by presenting a lecture in their own way.

She also emphasized the importance of following through--for example, don't let key emails from your assistants go unanswered.

"Make sure," Evans said, "you finish the communication you start with your TA."

The institute ends at noon Friday after a half-day lineup that includes "20 Technologies in 20 Minutes: A Rapid Roundtable." Materials from each day's sessions are posted as they become available here.