The Centre for Teaching and Learning’s “Introduction to Graduate Teaching” Micro-Credential
The Centre for Teaching and Learning is pleased to offer an “Introduction to Graduate Teaching” micro-credential to all Trent graduate students. Micro-credentials are provincially-recognized achievements of a defined set of skills. They are recognized by academic institutions, employers, and hiring managers. While it is not mandatory for GTAs to complete the micro-credential program, it is highly recommended!
By the end of the Introduction to University Teaching micro-credential, GTAs will be able to
- Identify the different responsibilities of Trent GTAs and the ways in which they interact with course instructors.
- Identify, describe, and apply principles of engagement and best practices for facilitating student learning including active learning, equity, diversity and inclusion, and Indigenization.
- Identify, describe, and apply methods of efficient and equitable assessment of student work, including the benefits of different marking tools, the elements of constructive comments on students’ work, and methods of promoting a culture of academic integrity.
- Discuss common challenges that GTAs face and identify strategies for addressing these challenges.
Introduction to Graduate Teaching Micro-Credential Requirements
Earning the micro-credential should take approximately 10 hours and includes three requirements:
Part I: Asynchronous GTA Training Module (2 hours): This Blackboard site is made up of four instructional units for incoming GTAs: 1) Understanding GTA Roles and Responsibilities 2) Principles of University Instruction 3) Principles of Assessment and Feedback 4) Professionalism and Setting Boundaries. Each unit contains videos, readings, and interactive activities. After completing all four units, GTAs take a short quiz. They must earn an 80% to successfully complete the module, and they may take as many tries as necessary to earn that mark.
Part II: Synchronous GTA Orientation (6 hours): Offered in-person and online during the first week of September and online in January, the GTA Orientation comprises a mix of instructional workshops, panel discussions, and group activities. GTAs divide into arts and science rooms so that programming can be made specific to their disciplinary responsibilities and engage in interactive workshops including the Art and Science of Teaching, Strategies for Challenging Situations in the Classroom, Indigenizing the Academy, and lab/tutorial simulations. Find out more about the Orientation and register to attend on our event page.
Part III: GTA Orientation Reflection (2 hours): Following the synchronous orientation, GTAs write a short reflection on what they learned and outline a teaching goal for the next month, semester, and year.
Information and Next-Steps
Information/Next Steps for New GTAs:
- All incoming GTAs will be enrolled in the Introduction to Graduate Teaching and GTA Training Site by August 21. GTAs can begin working on the asynchronous portion of the micro-credential once they are enrolled.
- GTAs must register to attend a synchronous orientation session in either September or January. Registration for the next Orientation can be found here.
- After the synchronous orientation, GTAs should complete their written reflection and submit it to the dropbox on the Introduction to Teaching Micro-credential Blackboard site before October 1st or February 1st.
- Graduate students who are not GTAs but who wish to complete the micro-credential should write to Dana Capell to get enrolled.
Information for Returning GTAs:
- If you completed the GTA Training Module and/or Orientation program in a previous year and you would now like to earn a micro-credential, please let us know by completing this form. We will be happy to give you credit for the portions of the micro-credential that you have already completed and let you know what you work remains!
If you have any questions about the Introduction to Graduate Teaching micro-credential, please contact Dana Capell in the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
What is a micro-credential?
A micro-credential is an official recognition of your achievements of a defined set of skills, knowledge, and/or competencies. Micro-credentials are different from more traditional learning experiences. A micro-credential may recognize learning obtained from a particular experience (workshop, module, on the job experience, volunteer work, formal education, etc.). They are designed to fit within busy schedules and adapt quickly to changing needs in the workforce. Micro-credentials can range from five to 288 hours in length (a nano-credential is recognized as ranging from two – five hours), are stackable with other micro-credentials (which lead to a ‘Super Badge’), and are portable, verifiable, and digital.
Who can complete the micro-credential?
Any graduate student at Trent University can complete the Introduction to Graduate Teaching micro-credential. If you are a new Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA), you will be automatically enrolled in the Introduction to Graduate Teaching Micro-Credential and GTA Training site on Blackboard in late August. If you are a returning GTA, please email Dana Capell for information on enrolling in the micro-credential.
Why should I complete the Introduction to Graduate Teaching micro-credential?
GTAs provide direct instructions to thousands of Trent University undergraduate students each year. They lead discussions, facilitate lab sections, hold office hours, and mark student work. However, many GTAs come into their roles with little to no training in instruction or assessing student work. Indeed, a survey of GTAs conducted by the School of Graduate Studies (2023) revealed that most respondents wanted more training in advance of their teaching duties. Offered just before classes begin, this micro-credential provides GTAs with an orientation to their role and highlights crucial principles of instruction, assessment, and professionalism. Its goal to ease GTAs’ transition to their new roles as teachers and to improve the quality of instruction at Trent University.
How do I complete the Introduction to Graduate Teaching Micro-Credential?
The Introduction to Graduate Teaching has both asynchronous and synchronous requirements. All of the information and resources that you need to complete the micro-credential are contained on a Blackboard site titled “Introduction to Graduate Teaching Micro-Credential and GTA Training Module.” New GTAs are automatically enrolled in this Blackboard site and should see it on their course list by August 21. If you are not a new GTA and/or do not see this site by August 21, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like access.
When Should I Complete the Micro-Credential?
The Introduction to Graduate Teaching micro-credential is designed to be an orientation support for new GTAs. We recommend that you complete the micro-credential at the beginning of your first term as a GTA. Some sections of the micro-credential, such as the asynchronous GTA Training Module and quiz can be completed any time. Other sections, like the synchronous orientation sessions, are only offered in September and January of each year. Final reflections are due before October 1 and February 1 of each year, and micro-credentials will be issued in November and March of each year.
How does the Micro-credential Differ from the Graduate Teaching Certificate?
All graduate students can choose to complete both the Introduction to Graduate Teaching Micro-Credential and the Graduate Teaching Certificate; both programs are designed to support graduate students as they become teaching assistants at Trent University. Both include synchronous and asynchronous components, including the GTA Orientation (synchronous) and the Graduate Teaching Modules (asynchronous). However, the Introduction to Graduate Teaching Micro-Credential is an orientation program best suited to graduate students who are beginning their graduate teaching roles, while the Graduate Teaching Certificate is best suited to more experienced GTAs who want to gain a deeper understanding of university teaching and learning. The Introduction to Graduate Teaching Micro-Credential requires 10 hours to complete, while the Graduate Teaching Certificate required approximately 30-35 hours to complete.