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CURE Teaching Assistant Learning Community

CURE Teaching Assistant Learning Community- CURETALC

In Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs), undergraduate students address an authentic research question where the outcome is unknown to the student and the instructor. CUREs are embedded in course activities, therefore they are available to a larger number of students than individual research experiences. This increased access leads to improvements in student achievement, development of scientific practices, scientific thinking, and scientific communication; encourages students to be part of a scientific community; and increases student self-efficacy and their motivation to learn science.

To support Teaching Assistants who teach CURE labs, the CLSE initiated a new TA Learning Community (TALC) and created an alternate pathway for TAs to meet the existing CLSE professional development requirement in Autumn 2017.

CURETALC (“cure-talk”) is designed to improve the TA experience in CUREs so that they feel more prepared to use CURE-specific pedagogy to help students increase their identity as a scientist, sense of belonging to the scientific community, and self-efficacy regarding their ability to succeed in science. Goals for the learning community members and associated outcomes are:

  • Build a community of TAs interested in improving CURE instruction
  • Increase TA awareness of the special CURE features that have been linked to increases in student achievement and persistence
  • Increase TA collaboration surrounding support of CURE TA teaching

Facilitated by veteran CURE instructors, individual and community learning outcomes corresponding to the above goals are identified early each semester through reflection and group discussion. In this community, TAs develop projects that support CURE TAs' teaching. In 2019-2020, TAs developed recitation activities to encourage student development of scientific literacy skills that resulted in a peer reviewed publication (https://doi.org/10.24918/cs.2020.48). During the 2020-21 academic year, TAs focused on supporting student learning in the online environment during the pandemic.

Former TA, Insiya Fidai describes what she gained by teaching a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE).