Preparing Future Educators: Designing Courses for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Concurrent Session 6

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Brief Abstract

Wichita State’s Instructional Design and Technology team prioritizes preparing future generations of online educators by designing and crafting pedagogically strong courses. Help us to develop work-in-progress courses that simultaneously deliver quality course content to undergraduate students while training graduate students in quality assurance, accessibility, and online pedagogy. 


Torie Wynn has worked as an Instructional Designer since 2015 and currently serves as an Instructional Designer and Accessibility Expert at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Prior to coming to UMKC, she served as the Senior Instructional Designer at Wichita State University. She has also worked as an Instructional Design and Video Consultant for various institutions including St. Mary's College of California, Ft. Scott Community College, and KU Med. Torie has taught online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses in Social Media, Business Writing, Composition, and American Literature. Torie is a Quality Matters Master Reviewer and holds both BA and MA in English Language and Literature from WSU. She is passionate about accessibility in course design and training resources. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, cooking, and weightlifting.

Extended Abstract

The changing landscape of higher education has resulted in changing and developing job descriptions at the faculty level. Graduate Teaching Assistants who hope to one day become faculty members search for opportunities to develop their skills and become valuable assets to future departments. Their demanding schedules can sometimes mean that pedagogical training fails to the wayside.

At Wichita State and other university, Graduate Teaching Assistants are moving from the face-to-face classroom to online courses. In an effort to better train graduate teaching assistants in online pedagogy, accessibility, and quality assurance, the Instructional Design and Technology team has prioritized creating introductory level courses that teach graduate students online pedagogy while simultaneously delivering course content to undergraduate students. Our goals for these courses include the following:

  • Sharing and Collaboration: These courses can be utilized by multiple Graduate Teaching Assistants simultaneously to deliver content to their undergraduate students. The courses give the GTAs the opportunity to share tasks and collaborate with one another.
  • Introduction to Online Education: These courses will be used by GTAs teaching online for the first time. They will serve as their introduction to teaching online at the university level and teach the basics of objectives, organization, and interaction.
  • Online Pedagogy and Accessibility Training: The courses must serve as examples of high-quality teaching practices and give the graduate students the opportunity to experience and experiment with different types of content delivery. In addition, the courses need to meet accessibility standards and teach GTAs how to identify and rectify accessibility concerns.
  • Simultaneous Delivery of Quality Course Content: In an effort to conserve the graduate students’ time, these courses must simultaneously deliver a quality experience and content strong course content for the undergraduate students enrolled in the course.

In our Emerging Ideas session, we would like to discuss the current stage of development for these courses and give brief examples/tours of content that has already been designed. We are interested in discussing similar projects with colleagues and identify holes in our design process. We are also open to any ideas or suggestions from those who have created similar projects.

This experience would be especially beneficial to instructional design teams, educators new to online education, recent graduates, and/or individuals concerned with accessibility.