CHEM 601 (Section 10)
Home Page - FALL 2005 
1 Credit, Pass-Fail
8:00 - 9:15 AM Tuesday,  236 Alison Hall

Graduate teaching assistants have a unique and significant impact on undergraduate science education at the University of Delaware. Thus, it is essential that new teaching assistants be prepared and supported so that they can fulfill their responsibilities fully. Introduction to Laboratory Instruction is part of that mission. This web-site will be up dated frequently and will become a resource for  graduate teaching assistants in Biology and Chemistry. Please consult it frequently.
Course Syllabus About the Instructor Center for Teaching Effectiveness
Tentative Schedule Web Resources for TAs Annual TA Conference

TA Tales - What Do I Do Now?
Fall 2005 Course Evaluations. Numerical & Narrative

Instructor:  Prof. Hal White
Office:         203 Brown Laboratory
Phone:           831-2908
E-mail:         halwhite at

Brief Course Description:
Being a new Teaching Assistant (TA) in a biology or chemistry laboratory of 20 undergraduates requires preparation not only in the subject matter but also in methods of instruction. Introduction to Laboratory Instructionis not a course devoted to biology or chemistry content. Rather, it focuses on teaching and especially learning.  It  is dedicated to preparing first-time TAs to fulfill their roles in undergraduate teaching laboratories. Issues relating to specific laboratory exercises and course content are the responsibility of the various course instructors. Among the topics and issues addressed are:

        • learning styles and learning theory,
        • personality types of students and teachers,
        • biological and chemical hazards and laboratory safety,
        • intellectual development in the college years,
        • dealing with misconceptions,
        • ethics and academic dishonesty,
        • asking good questions and constructing good quizzes,
        • being fair in grading and in the laboratory,
        • problem-based learning and other cooperative learning strategies,
        • recognizing problems and resolving conflict,
        • time management in and out of the laboratory,
        • being a learning facilitator rather than an information dispenser,
        • leading managing pre-laboratory discussions,
        • library resources for science education.

In addition, many graduate students serve unofficially as research mentors to undergraduate students in research laboratories. Starting in the Fall 2005, several sessions in the later half of this course will address issues of mentoring research students in line with the publication, Entering Mentoring.

Who should take this course:
All new Chemistry graduate students who are first-time teaching assistants must take Introduction to Laboratory Instruction starting in the Fall of 2002. All new Biology graduate students who are first-time teaching assistants are strongly recommended to take this course. Because this course has a significant in-service component, new graduate students who are not teaching, should defer taking the course to when they become a TA.

Financial support and incentives for offering this course come from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and their four-year Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Grant to the University of Delaware. The HHMI Undergraduate Program at the University of Delaware is dedicated to "stimulating attitudes of inquiry" in the classroom and in the laboratory, and among students and faculty at all levels. Traditional methods of instruction (e. g. "cookbook laboratories") focus on transmission of information rather than cultivating curiosity and conceptual understanding. One of the goals of this course is to catalyze a shift in the perception of a teacher's role from the being source of all knowledge to being a facilitator of student learning.

Return to: Chemistry Department Home Page, Biology Department Home Page, or Course Syllabus
Created 26 July 2002, Last updated 5 January 2006 by Hal White [halwhite at]
Copyright 2005, Harold B. White, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716