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How to Improve Instructor Training

Posted 2014-05-02 by Greg Wilson in Instructor Training.

We ran a three-day intensive version of our instructor training course in Toronto earlier this week. The 40 attendees seemed to find it useful, and I'm very grateful to UBC's Warren Code for co-teaching, and to the University of Toronto's Jennifer Campbell for her presentation on MOOCs and flipped classrooms, but there are a few things we'll do differently next time around. They're listed below in no particular order; comments from attendees (and everyone else, particularly people who've been through the online instructor training) would be very welcome.

  1. Have everybody meet online in small groups for an hour a week before the live class. Much of the first day was taken up with presentations about the psychology of learning. These could be done as webinars, and doing that would free up time for things that only work well live.
  2. Tighten up the reading list. Attendees were asked to read How Learning Works, but not pointed at specific sections. We also should provide more targeted readings in advance, and do a better job of connecting the readings with what we're teaching.
  3. Devote half a day to mechanics. We talked a couple of times about how to set up and run a bootcamp, but it was pretty disjointed. We should walk attendees through our operations guide, our checklists, the assessment questionnaires we use, and our instructions on setting up a bootcamp repository and adding new lesson material.
  4. Run a short Git tutorial for people who need it. Setting up a bootcamp website and adding new lesson material requires some familiarity with Git. Teaching this in class to people who don't already know it would also be a good chance to demonstrate how we actually manage a classroom, which is something else attendees asked for.
  5. Make the process and outcomes clearer. We should explain to attendees at the outset that they will still have to teach once after this class is over, and submit a pull request on our lesson material, in order to get their instructor's badge.

Those are the things I took away from these three days. What have I missed? What else could we add or subtract to make this training more useful and more fun?

See also this post by Jennie Rose Halperin, one of the attendees, about what she got out of the training.

Positive/Thing Learned

Negative/To Improve

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