The Different Learning Objectives That I Need to Accomplish

Back in January when I first filled out my learning agreement my biggest hope was to learn how to become a professor. I knew that a lot more education would be needed but I hoped that it would at least give me a glimpse of what it was like to be a professor. My first learning objective I listed was “I want to become better at helping students and improve y communication skills, in hopes of becoming a professor one day”. When I filled that out I was mainly thinking communication skills with students in the class, I didn’t think about communication skills with other faculty and professors. I dealt with other professors within the broadcasting department whom I quickly realized I would also be communicating with on a regular basis.

For the broadcasting class I was a Teaching Assistant for, there are weekly labs that every student must complete that provide hands on experience with the various equipment we use in the class like a camera, audio board and switcher among the many others. At the start of the semester the professor of the class Jane Winslow told me that I would be leading the labs. I was confused at first because when I took the class with her, Bill Canning from Campus Technology who runs the television studio and equipment room taught each lab. I told Jane I would gladly teach the labs, but asked her why Bill wasn’t teaching them this semester. She rolled her eyes and shrugged and said, “It’s a long story but after I talk to the Dean hopefully Bill will teach them again”.

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This was the first time in the semester I sensed tension between Jane and Bill and it was evident that there was an issue behind closed doors. Bill ended up teaching the labs again, but he wasn’t too pleased with it. At one point in the semester a camera was stolen and Bill supposedly wasn’t doing that much to solve the problem. Jane asked me to figure out what his solution was and he wasn’t too fond of me asking for Jane. I realized that my communication between the two had to be good in order to avoid escalating any tensions. Instead of going up to Bill and saying “Jane wants to know what your solution is,” I simply said “Is the stolen camera being investigated, when can we expect to have the camera back”.

I felt that this way leaving Jane out Bill would communicate better with me and feel more comfortable. He said he was working with police and hoped the camera would be back shortly. By talking with other faculty as a Teaching Assistant, I realized they had more respect for me, and trusted me more. I didn’t necessarily expect this but it helped my communication skills knowing they were telling me sensitive information and I would have to acknowledge there were tensions.

The second learning objective I hoped to achieve was “improve my own technology skills for the equipment used in the class to explain concepts better.” I believe I was asked to be a Teaching Assistant in the first place because I knew the material and equipment, but mostly because my excitement and passion for broadcasting and the class. I feel that by spending time after class by myself and with other students I have become much more technology savvy and successfully achieved that objective.

The second half of the semester is spent in the television studio and students produce their own live shows. As a Teaching Assistant, I made it a goal to be well versed with the Chyron Generator (graphics creator). I spent extra time teaching myself how to operate it so when a student had a question I could quickly answer it or demonstrate how to use the system.

The third objective I listed was “I want to watch how the professor teaches and controls the class so I can successfully teach the class at one point.” I think that many professors struggle with is cell phones and students not having attention in class. Jane is very strict on this and she pointed out to students how she can see under the desk, how she can see their phone light up and she can hear it vibrate. I think by telling students she knows how they plan to get away with texting; it stopped them because they were afraid of her “hawk eye” for spotting cell phones.

When the class was getting off topic, she would use terms that many teenagers use like “yo” to get them to shift their attention back to her. I felt that this strategy worked well because students are geared to listen to their “lingo” and I think that catches their attention better than saying “listen up” or “can I have your attention”. It was nice being able to observe these strategies and hopefully I can use them in the future.

One theoretical concept I learned as a Teaching Assistant was one that I’ve heard discussed many times before. The notion that students learn better with hands-on experience is mentioned quite frequently in broadcasting because of the importance of equipment. Having been in the role of both a student and Teaching Assistant, I learned why hands-on experience works better than textbooks and lectures very quickly. The biggest factor into this concept is that students are more engaged when they’re physically doing something, rather than just reading and trying to memorize. By physically adjusting the focus on a camera or correctly setting up a three-point light scheme, students remember the facts and actually want to do it again.

I haven’t met a student who wants to read a textbook over, but I have met students who’ve asked me to help them learn the light scheme in person. Students seemed more eager to learn and were definitely more engaged when the lectures turned into hands-on activities I completed Broadcasting 235 in the fall of this year so I went straight from student to Teaching Assistant. My video editing skills as a student weren’t the best so essentially taking the class over again as a Teaching Assistant really helped me. By sitting down with students and working with them individually on their projects, we were able to experiment with new tools and ideas in Final Cut Pro, which allowed them to produce brilliant projects. Factually wise, it was great opportunities for myself to re-learn the system and better understand the details that go in to creating a fantastic movie or news package.

To become a better and more effect student, I learned during my experience as a Teaching Assistant was realizing there are two sides to each story. For example a student might turn in an assignment late, but the professor can’t accept it late because it would affect the other students in the class. As a student, I never understood why the professor couldn’t make an exception, but now I understand. Exceptions, simply put are a professor’s worst nightmare because one exception could turn into 10 exceptions and the class could spiral out of control.

Another perspective I learned was how things can be explained better on the professor’s part. I was in the exact same class in the fall semester, so I might have had things explained differently to me by Jane compared to these students did. There were times I chimed in as the Teaching Assistant because I felt if they were explained a different way it would make more sense. I used my knowledge and familiarity with the course to help the other students and I feel it was helpful to everyone involved from the students to Jane. Since I am the same age as most of the students I felt I could communicate and reach them in a different way than Jane, so I gave the entire class my cell phone number and they know that I was available to them at all times if I didn’t have a prior engagement.

For any faculty member, I think the one of the hardest tasks is getting students to read material outside of class. The textbook for the class is a little out dated, so in order to stay current Jane provided the students with handouts with updated pictures and diagrams throughout the semester. Also, the whole communications department switched over to an online reservation system for radio labs and camera equipment, which was a major step up from the paper booklets, used prior. I think that by adapting to this technology that is available, it makes everything more convenient for the students and faculty to manage.

Within the class I was an Assistant for, there was a senior who was rather outspoken and took advantage of the fact most of the class was made up of underclassmen. He felt that by having this seniority he was able to get away with certain things. At one point, he told me how he copied another student’s tutorial project. To give a brief background, the tutorial project is completed on Final Cut Pro editing system and each student puts together the same exact commercial, making it very easy to copy.

I was taken back that this student told me he plagiarized and I was unsure of how to deal with the conflict. After telling Jane, she was not surprised and said it happens frequently and she could already tell. I guess I should have assumed that after teaching this class for many semesters Jane would be able to spot tutorial projects with the same exact cuts and audio levels. She told me that she would handle the situation with the student and thanked me for telling her anyway. It was really the only conflict I dealt with in the class and wasn’t sure how to approach it, but I felt I handled it correctly by going to Jane and letting her know there was an issue.

As a journalism/broadcasting student, what I find most enjoyable in general is working with cameras and in a television studio. Being able to be a part of a production with multiple crew members and seeing the final product is what I find most enjoyable. As a Teaching Assistant, I enjoyed working with the students all semester and seeing their finished projects at the end of the semester. I enjoyed helping them operate Chyron Generator, or the audio board not just for them to get a good grade, but for them to enjoy it as much as I do. Last semester, when I was a student in Jane’s class it was stressful completing the studio projects because I knew it meant I would be getting a grade. As a Teaching Assistant, I was able to relax and experience the studio projects knowing a grade wasn’t on the line.

I take pride in the work I do, so getting recognized by other professors was the most satisfying part of being a Teaching Assistant. I felt honored when I was asked to be a Teaching Assistant in the first place; it was a proud moment for myself. Throughout the semester, I was complimented not only by Jane, but also by the other broadcasting professor Bonnie Brickman. As often as I could, I tried to attend Bonnie’s class especially towards the end of the semester when her class was doing studio projects.

Following one class when I helped one of her students out, she thanked me for going out of my way to help out when I wasn’t even the assigned assistant for her class. Later that day, Jane pulled me aside in the regular class I’m assigned to and said Bonnie was explaining to her how much of a help I was and how I had a great attitude and always willing to help out. It’s nice to be recognized by the faculty members for the effort I put forth and it made my experience even more enjoyable and brought me satisfaction.

If I could redesign my experiential learning, I would use some of the ideas I learned from other Teaching Assistants through the online discussions. One of the Teaching Assistants pointed out that she sat in a different seat each class to get to know the students better. In my class, I sat off to the side away from the students and I feel that if I sat amongst the students it would benefit everyone. I feel I would be able to contribute even more to the class and I would seem more “human” to the students, who some I felt were afraid of me because I had a close relationship with the professor.

Moving forward as a student, there are many things I can take away from being a Teaching Assistant. Already as a student I try to limit my cell phone use to emergency only during class. There are times a fail to adhere to that limit, but after being a Teaching Assistant I will be more aware of how rude it is to a professor and other students. The sound of rustling in your pocket and then pressing keys on a phone is very distracting and it’s not fair to anyone in the class. It’s also rude to the professor because they’re taking the time to teach you and you’re showing how little you care. As for homework assignments, the simple answer is don’t procrastinate.

In BRC 235, students have to reserve computers and cameras in order to complete assignments, if they procrastinated and all the equipment other students reserved equipment they couldn’t do the assignment. I watched many students learn the hard way that when you have an assignment due where you have to rely on limited equipment, procrastination is your worst enemy. As a student, having watched it happen, I’ll have even more reason not to procrastinate. Also in BRC 235 students complete a group studio project at the end of each semester.

The one thing I took away from watching them all work together is that if no leader emerges out of the group, the grade will suffer. Having a group leader focuses everyone on the assignment and enforces deadlines. As a student, I will not be afraid to step up and be a group leader after watching some groups fail to find a common leader. I think it’s important for a leader to organize the group because it’s the best way to ensure work gets completed and tasks are divided up evenly.

By serving as a Teaching Assistant, I learned more than I ever imagined. Even though I was teaching at points, I was still learning the entire time. Each student taught me different things and I especially learned from Professor Jane Winslow. Outside of the class, I learned from my fellow Teaching Assistants as well whether it be tips to use during the class, or tips for my future. It was an experience I would recommend all students take advantage of if they are offered the opportunity.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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The Different Learning Objectives That I Need to Accomplish. (2023, Jan 24). Retrieved from