Course Syllabus

Teaching Practicum

Info 375

The Practicum is designed to assist first-time and future GSIs in preparing to teach and in teaching.  It is primarily for students from the School of Information.  Students from outside the i-school may join the class with the instructor’s permission.   The Practicum will attempt to provide participants with support, resources, feedback, and the encouragement of others facing similar challenges. Towards these goals concerning teaching it seeks, among other things, to provide insight into the processes and challenges of learning, both by drawing on the wisdom of those who have examined it critically, and by reflecting on our own experience and practice. In sum, the goal is for us all to become better “reflective practitioners” and to (re)design our teaching in response to those reflections.  We will consider different approaches to teaching and pedagogic practices and explore what these might tell us about the implicit and explicit philosophies of learning exhibited in classrooms today. We will endeavor to develop skills in the area of class preparation and presentation; the development and assessing of reading and writing skills; and the challenges of dealing with the modern, diverse student body. Overall, a primary goal is to help equip GSIs to tackle the demands of the classroom and the needs of students.
The class also aims to help students burnish their teaching credentials as they consider applying for jobs.  With this in mind, the class will concurrently work on the design of a teaching portfolio to submit with academic applications.


Class time

Thursdays, 12-2



107 South Hall



Paul Duguid


Office Hours 

Thursdays from 10:30-12.
Room 305b South Hall
My office hour meetings are by appointment, which I will be happy to make if you send me an email at duguid at berkeley. If you cannot make the set office time, please indicate other times when you are available and I will do my best to find an alternative.

Course Requirements

Standards and Ethics  Course

All students are required to take the GSI Professional Standards and Ethics Online Course before teaching.   See GSI Teaching and Resource Center.  Please make a note of any issues concerning the Ethics course you think it would be worthwhile for us to discuss in the class on that topic.

Class participation is important, hence your attendance is expected. If you must miss class, please contact me in advance, make sure that you have my acknowledgement, submit any assignment set for that day (see below).  Class participation, including contributions to the i375 mailing list, will be worth 30% of your grade.  

There will be two sets of tasks.  Each week there will be an Reading and related question for class discussion.  You are also encouraged to look at the background reading where applicable.  Each class participant will be expected to lead one such discussion during the semester.  Please sign up on this google doc.  Beyond the reading, weekly assignments may include steps towards the final project of building a teaching portfolio.  Reading and related assignments will add up to 30% of your grade.

Class Visits

Visiting classes has two useful purposes.  It allows the visitor to see how others approach the task of teaching, and it allows the visited to gain from the perspective of an outside eye.  In week 3, when there will be no class, please arrange to visit the class of another member of i375.  I am more than willing to come and visit one of your classes, but because such visits are more likely to be intrusive, I will only do so at your invitation.


Final project
The final project will be to construct and submit a teaching portfolio, comprising a philosophy of teaching statement and a syllabus, with readings, rubrics, and mid-term and final paper or exam topics.  The final project will account for 40% of your grade.

Principal Resources

Mattuck, A. 2009. The Torch or the Firehose: A Guide to Section Teaching.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Open Courseware []

Davis, B. G. 2009. Tools for Teaching (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.[ebrary]

GSI Teaching and Resource Center, U.C. Berkeley

Center for Teaching and Learning, U.C. Berkeley

i375 mailing list.  Please sign up via Calmail [alternatively, ask me and I can sign you up].



Note: In each class we will set aside time to hear and discuss reports from the field, i.e. from those who are teaching this semester.  If you are teaching, please come prepared to share what you are learning with and seek support from your classmates.


1.  Aug 25: Introduction
“Leaning goals” being an essential part of teaching, in the first session, we will go over the goals and requirements for this course and discuss plans for achieving them. (The syllabus is only cast in bad html not stone, and suggestions and modifications will be welcome.) We will also take a brief look at the readings from Mattuck and Davis and the U.C. Berkeley GSI and Teaching websites.

If you can, please take a quick look at the “principal resources” listed above, so we can discuss their role in the coming semester.

2.  Sept 1: Concepts of Learning
This week, we will consider the relationship between teaching and learning, and to what extent one should be expected to lead to the other.


Krathwohl, D. R. 2002. A revision of Bloom's taxonomy: An overview. Theory into Practice, 41(4), 212-218. [JSTOR]

Joyce, Rosemary. 2011. Remarks on "Legitimate Peripheral Participation. (video--c. 25 mins) Graduate Student Teaching and Resource Center
Lave, Jean. 2011. Learning as a Socially Situated Activity. (video--c. 25 mins) Graduate Student Teaching and Resource Center

Background Reading

Bloom's Taxonomy []

Brown, J.S. & Duguid, P.  1996. Stolen Knowledge, pp. 47-56 in Hilary McLellan, ed,  Situated Learning Perspectives. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Educational Technology Publications. []

Dirks, Nicholas.  2014.  What Ivory Tower Gets Wrong.  [Berkeley Blog]

Freire, Paulo.  2014 (1970).  The 'Banking' Concept of Education, ch. 1 in Pedagogy of the Oppressed.  London: Bloomsbury [

3.  Sept 8: Theory to Practicalities: Campus and Department Policies
In this class we will look at GSI working conditions as specified in the union contract and campus-wide and departmental policies towards such things as childcare.


UAW and UC Agreement June 21, 2014-June 30, 2018 [UAW site]
PDFs in "Files" section of this site:
    •    Introduction to Union Pamphlet
    •    Know Your Rights
    •    Student Parent Pamphlet
    •    Childcare Reimbursement Program


Background Reading

Berkeley UAW Blog [Wordpress]
Childcare Reimbursement Program Information  [Wordpress]

"Student Assistants Covered by the NLRA."  NLRB August 2016 Press Release

Ask your departmental contact if they have any written policies about student teachers (regarding grading, hours worked per week, etc) and if so, to provide you with a copy of those policies. Please bring these and, if you are willing, your Letter of Appointment, to class with you. Ask your peers whether they have experienced any difficulties negotiating between the demands of professors, their rights as GSIs, and their other obligations.


Maggie Downey

Jackie Zaneri

4.  Sept 15 - No Class

There will be no class this week, but please use the time you gain to arrange a visit to a session led by one of your i375 classmates who is teaching this semester.

5.  Sept 22: Critical Thinking and Teaching Philosophy
Students must be encouraged to ask questions and challenge the assumptions—both their own and their teachers'. In this session, we will discuss the challenge of getting students to think “critically” and not be passive consumers of what they are taught in the classroom. We will discuss the difference between critique, critical thinking, and criticism.  As part of this discussion, you will be asked to begin to outline your teaching philosophy.


Mattuck, A. 2009. Questions: Theirs and Yours, pp. 10-15 in The Torch or the Firehose. []

Meek, A. 1991. On Thinking about Teaching: A Conversation with Eleanor Duckworth. Educational Leadership, 48(6), 30-34. [bcourses]

Bean, J. C. 2011. pp. 1-5 of Using Writing to Promote Thinking: A Busy Professor's Guide to the Whole Book, ch 1 in Engaging Ideas: The Professor''s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. New York: John Wiley & Sons. [bCourses]


Background Reading

Goodyear, Gail E.  & Douglas Allchin.  1998.  Statements of Teaching Philosophy.  To Improve the Academy 17: 103-122 []

Kelzky, Karen.  The Dreaded Teaching Statement: Eight Pitfalls [The Professor Is In Blog]

Montell, Gabriella.  2003.  How to Write a Statement of Teaching Philosophy.  Chronicle of Higher Education.  March 27. []

Brighouse, Harry.  2016.  Why Have Classroom Discussions Anyway?  [Crooked Timber Blog]

Take a critical but constructive approach to these readings. Consider the extent to which they correspond to your own experience (as a student), to your practices as an instructor, and to the theories discussed in week 3. Do they share a common view of learning and are the individual (or collective) views coherent? How would you present them critically but constructively to students?

To get our discussion going, please post a couple of critical questions in response to these readings and their assumptions to the i375 list.





Anna Lauren Hoffmann

6. Sept 29: Choosing a Course
For this class you will be asked to discuss the course around which you might build a teaching portfolio, to outline the goals of such a course, and the means to achieve those goals.  


School of Information Catalog [or relevant equivalent]

Davis, B.G. 2009. Designing or Revising a Course, pp. 3-20 in Tools for Teaching [ebrary]

Look at the course catalog for your department and consider topics that are missing that you would be willing to teach or courses that you would be interested in modifying.  For those who are not building a portfolio, consider instead how you would revise the syllabus of the class that you are GSI for.  Come to class prepared to explain what you have chosen to do, why you chose it, and how you propose to go about it.





7. Oct 6: Building a Syllabus
In this class, you will be asked to take steps toward building a syllabus for the course proposed in the previous week.


Syllabus Design. Berkeley Center for Teaching Learning

Create a Section Syllabus. GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Background Reading

Wiggins G. & J. McTighe.  1998.  What is Backward Design?” pp. 7-19 in Understanding By Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.  []

Submit to the list links to an existing syllabus for a similar or related course and a summary syllabus for the class you propose, comprising the topics you plan to discuss, the order in which you will discuss them, and some sample readings.   Try to position the syllabus in the context of other classes with similar subject matter, including the one you have linked to.



8. Oct 13: Reading and Writing
Further developing the syllabus, we will discuss choosing readings for a syllabus and constructing appropriate exercises for reading and writing involving those readings


Davis, B.G. 2009. Designing Effective Writing Assignments and Evaluating Students' Written Work, pp. 314-333 in Tools for Teaching [bCourses]

Zamel, V. 1992. Writing one's way into Reading. Tesol Quarterly, 26(3), 463-485. [JSTOR ]


Conducting a Midterm Evaluation  GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Background Reading

Bartholomae, D., & Petrosky, A. R. 1986. Facts, Artifacts and Counterfacts: Theory and Method for a Reading and Writing Course. Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook Publishers, Inc. [bCourses]

Emery, H., Frye, M., Gray, K., Nelson, L., & Brown, H. 2011.  Instructor's Guide to Writing for Sociology.  Berkeley: Dept. of Sociology.  2d Ed. [Dept of Sociology]

Jones, J., Quinn, S. & Brown, H.  2010. Writing for Sociology.  Berkeley: Dept. of Sociology.  2d. Edition [Dept. of Sociology]

Working with Student Writing. GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Teaching Critical Reading. GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Find piece of writing (perhaps but not necessarily your own) that responds to a reading and that you find interestingly problematic, circulate it on the list, and come prepared to discuss its problems with the class.  By “interestingly problematic” I mean something that is not just plain bad writing, but rather something that can help make us—in ways that I’m not sure the various readings for this week do— aware of and even sympathetic towards the difficulties of writing. Consider how such problematic writing may also help us to understand where we can go wrong in defining a writing assignment and, by extension, where we are likely to find challenges in grading one.



9. Oct 20:

Participation, Discussion, and Collaboration
Students are easily inhibited and getting them to participate can be a major challenge for teachers. In this session, we will discuss various approaches to encouraging greater participation. You will be encouraged share what you have learned from your classrooms, either as students or teachers.  Looking ahead to class 13 consider, in particular, how exercises can recognize and accommodate the diversity of students in a class.


Mattuck, A. 2009. The Glass Wall: Encouraging Interaction, pp. 5-15 in The Torch or the Firehose. []

Davis, B.G. 2009. Encouraging Student Participation in Discussions, ch. 10 in in Tools for Teaching [ebrary]

Background Reading

Gallow, D.  2105. Working Effectively with Small Groups.  U.C. Irvine.

Byrnes, J. & Byrnes, M. 2009. Dealing with Students Who Hate Working in Groups. Faculty Focus May 26.

Weimer, M. 2009. Group Work Tip: Make Leaders Accountable for Group Performance. Faculty Focus Aug. 21.

Encouraging Participation. GSI Teaching and Resource Center


Byrnes & Byrnes counsel you to “[t]hink about your experience working in groups.”  With that injunction in mind, draw on your experience in collaborative exercises and come to class with one that would be suitable for the syllabus you are constructing.



10. Oct 27: 

With your syllabus in mind, we will discuss appropriate assignments for your course, considering the sorts of weekly tasks that this course has given you, appropriate mid-terms and finals, and choices between exams and papers as means of assessment.


Papers, Projects, and Presentations. Stanford Teaching Commons

Designing Writing Assignments. Stanford Teaching Commons

Davis, B.G. 2009. Quizzes, Tests, and Exams and Multiple-Choice and Matching Tests. Chapters 39 & 41 in Tools for Teaching [ebrary]

Background Reading

Designing Problem Sets. Stanford Teaching Commons.

Submit to the list a description (with brief examples as appropriate) suitable reading assignments for the course you propose.   Come to class prepared to discuss why you chose them and how they will help your students.



11.  Nov 3: Assessment and Evaluation
This session will encourage you to reflect on the process of being graded and of grading. Then, with assignments of the previous week also in mind, we will go over the design of grading rubrics and where relevant create them for classes you are currently engaged in or for the syllabus you are building. We will also discuss the evaluation of teachers and GSIs by students and of students by one another.


Mattuck, A. 2009. Evaluating Your Students: Assignment, Exams, Grades, pp. 38-42 in The Torch or the Firehose. []

Shepard, L. A. 2000. The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture. Educational Researcher 29(7), 4-14. [JSTOR]

Davis, B.G. 2009. Grading Practices and Calculating and Assigning Grades, pp. 409-429 in Tools for Teaching [ebrary]


Background Reading

Grading Student Work.  GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Consider how you will assess the assignments designed for your syllabus in the previous class.  Submit to the list an overview of your grading and evaluation strategy.




12.  Nov 10:  Presentation Techniques and Technology
A big part of teaching is the preparation and delivery of a lecture. We will go over presentation techniques and discuss what makes a good presentation.


Tufte, E. 2003. PowerPoint Is Evil. Wired  Sept.

Doumont, J-L. 2005. The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Slides Are Not Evil. Technical Communication 52(1) 64-70 [ingenta]

Background Reading

Mattuck, A. 2009. Basic Communication Skills and Seeing is Understanding: Using the Blackboard, pp. 30-37 in The Torch or the Firehose. []

Davis, B.G. 2009. Presentation Technologies. Part IX of Tools for Teaching [ebrary]

Teaching with Technology. GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Tools for the Classroom Setting. GSI Teaching and Resource Center


Prepare a 5-10 minute presentation that takes either Tufte or Doumont's side (or that reconciles or challenges both), on giving 5-10 minute presentations.



13.  Nov 17: Diversity and Ethics
As your portfolio comes near to completion, we will reflect on the extent to which it acknowledges and addresses the challenges of teaching a diverse body of students, many with backgrounds and identities quite different from your own.  We will also discuss ethics, not only those of the students but also those of the teachers.   The discussions will address both your practice and the teaching philosophy statement to be included in your portfolios.


Kardia, D.B. & Wright, M.C. 2004. Instructor Identity: The Impact of Gender and Race on Faculty Experiences with Teaching. CRLT Occasional Papers 19. [UMichigan]

Meizlish, D. 2005. Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom. CRLT Occasional Papers 20. [UMichigan]

Academic Misconduct: Cheating, Plagiarism, and Other Forms. GSI Teaching & Resource Center. 


Background Reading

Brown, Patricia Leigh.  2015.  Silicon Valley, Seeking Diversity, Focuses on Blacks.  New York Times.  Sept 3.

Davis, B.G. 2009. Promoting Academic Honesty, pp. 345-360 in Tools for Teaching [ebrary]

Mattuck, A. 2009. Invisible Students, Teachers from Other Countries, and Problem Students and Students with Problems, pp. 47-51 in The Torch or the Firehose. []

Weise, Elizabeth.  2014.  Tech: Where the Women and Minorities Aren't.  USA Today  August 15.

Refine your earlier teaching philosophy statement, paying particular attention to matters of ethics and diversity, and come to class prepared to discuss the revision.



14.  Nov 24 — Thanksgiving.  No Class

15.  Dec 1 (& Dec 8 if needed) - Final Presentations
In the final class (or classes, as needed) you will present and appraise your portfolios

Course Summary:

Date Details Due