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 and their own department's permission.   The Practicum will attempt to provide participants with support, resources, feedback, and the encouragement of others facing similar challenges. Though a practicum for teaching, it seeks above all 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, the 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 those hoping to apply for academic positions to burnish their teaching credentials.  With this in mind, the class will concurrently work on the design of a teaching portfolio to submit with academic applications.


Class time

Alternate Thursdays, starting August 23

6 - 8 pm.



Room 107, South Hall



Paul Duguid


Office Hours 

on class days Thursdays,  3-5 pm

on off weeks Wednesdays, 2-4 pm

for either occasion, please make an appointment

Room 305b South Hall

My office hour meetings are by appointment. I will be happy to make an appointment if you send an email to duguid at berkeley. If you cannot make my set office hours, don't hesitate to 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 taking the course.   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.)

The class will meet every second week throughout the semester. Class participation is important, hence your attendance is expected. If you must miss class, please let me know in advance, make sure that you have my acknowledgement, and submit any assignment set for that day (see below).  Class participation, including contributions to the online discussions, will be worth 30% of your grade.  

There will be two sets of tasks. 

(a) Readings: Each week there will be a Reading and related question for class discussion.  You are also encouraged to look at the background reading where applicable.  At least by the morning before the class meets, please post your thoughts about the reading to the class discussion for that topic.  Each class participant will be expected to lead one such discussion during the semester.  Please sign up here

(b) Towards a final project:  Beyond the readings, weekly requirements will include taking steps towards the final project (see below) 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. To help people visit your class, please sign up with the details of your class here.  By November 1, you should have visited the class of another member of our i375 class and be able to come to that class prepared, as both visitor and visited, to discuss what you have learned from the experience.  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
For Ph.D candidates, 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. 

If you are not a Ph.D. candidate, you can choose instead to submit a revision of the syllabus for the class you are GSIing.  This revision should also include your philosophy statement, rubric, and sample exam or paper assignment.  You should be prepared to discuss this in the class of November 15.

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]

Orit, Hazzan, Tami Lapidot & Noa Ragonis. 2011.  Guide to Teaching in Computer Science: An activity based approach. New York: Springer. []

GSI Teaching and Resource Center, U.C. Berkeley

Center for Teaching and Learning, U.C. Berkeley

CS Education Blogs

Ko, Andrew. 2017. “How to Be a Great (CS) Teacher.” [google docs]



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 to seek support from your classmates.


August 23: Introductions & Practicalities

We begin with introductions, a quick survey of the syllabus and requirements, and a discussion of GSI working conditions, including the union contract, and your rights and responsibilities under that contract.


UAW and UC Agreement June 21, 2014-June 30, 2018 [UAW site]

Berkeley UAW Blog [Wordpress]

Childcare Reimbursement Program Information  [bCourses]


Garrett Strain

Noura Howell

If you can, please take a quick look at the “principal resources” listed above, so we can discuss their role in the coming semester; also look at your union contract (follow the link above to the UAW site).


September 6: Concepts of Learning: setting teaching goals with learning in mind
This week, we will consider the relationship between teaching and learning, and to what extent one should be expected to lead to the other. This discussion will aim both to help your teaching over the semester and to shape your philosophy of teaching for the final assignment.


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

Goodyear, Gail E. & Douglas Allchin. 1998. Statements of Teaching Philosophy. To Improve the Academy17: 103-122 [Wordpress]

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. []

Cameron, Stephen V. & James J. Heckmen.  1993.  The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents.  Journal of Labor Economics 11(1): 1-47. [Jstor]

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

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. []

Negroponte, Nicholas. 2014.  "Big Think" [youtube video]


Submit to the list, before viewing the videos, your idea of what teaching and learning are and how they interrelate.




September 20: In the Classroom: how to encourage participation, discussion, collaboration; how to address questions of ethics and diversity.

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, particularly of women and minorities. You will be encouraged share what you have learned from your classrooms, either as students or teachers.  We will consider, in particular, how exercises can recognize and accommodate the diversity of students in a class.


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

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

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. []

When Women Stopped Coding.  Planet Money. October 2014.  []

Background Reading

Alvarado, Christine, Yingjun Cao, and Mia Minnes. 2017. Gender Differences in Students’ Behaviors in CS Classes Throughout the CS Major.  Pp. 27–32 in Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE ’17. [ACM]. 

Anon. 2017. Peer Instruction for Computer Science. [

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

Duguid, Paul .2018.  Storm Clouds: The Persisting Problems of Sexism in Tech. Review of Ellen K. Pao, Reset and Marie Hicks, Programmed Inequality, TLS, May 15. [bCourses]

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

Kardia, D.B. & Wright, M.C. 2004. Instructor Identity: The Impact of Gender and Race on Faculty Experiences with Teaching. CRLT Occasional Papers19. [UMichigan]

Linden, Monica & Mary Wright. 2018. Diversity and Inclusion -- Put it in the syllabus []

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

Encouraging Participation. GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Come prepared to discuss where you have felt assumptions about your own identity defining how you have been treated (either as teacher or as student) in class.




Oct 4: 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 Communication52(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 five-minute presentation on subject matter from the course for which you are GSI and that reflects your takeaway from the Tufte-Doumont debate.  It's probably best to present a set that exemplifies what good slides should look like, but if you like you can present (drawing what we have read about learning and participation) what would be a set of well-intentioned but poor slides. 

To make sure we have enough time to get through all your presentations, please feel free to work in groups of two. 

To allow others to see your slides and to help assemble these slides on one machine for the class so that we are not constantly plugging and unplugging machines, please post a link to the set you are using on the "Discussions" page, where I have initiated a discussion called "Presentation Slides."  (Using links may make it wiser to work in Google slides than Microsoft's Powerpoint or similar, but we should probably be able to work with all kinds.)




Oct 18: Assignments and Exams
In this session will we will discuss choosing and constructing appropriate assignments. The class will encourage you to reflect on the process of being graded as well as of grading. With your final project in mind, we will go over the design of grading rubric. If time allows, we will also discuss the evaluation of teachers and GSIs by students and of students by one another.



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

Mattuck, Arthur.  2009.  Evaluating Your Students: Assignments, Exams, Grades, p. 38-41 in The Torch or the Firehouse.  [MIT]

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

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]

Working with Student Writing. GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Teaching Critical Reading. GSI Teaching and Resource Center


Choose an assignment or exam question from the class that you are teaching or a class that you have taken that you think is a good question.  Also find one that is is contrastingly problematic (By “problematic” I have in mind something that is not just plain bad, but rather something that can help make us aware of and even sympathetic towards the difficulties of setting, of responding to, and--looking forward to our next meeting--of grading assignments.)

Please post your examples to the discussion list and come to class prepared to talk about them.





Nov 1: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.  And we will consider ways to detect and deal with cheating.


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

Orit, Hazzan, Tami Lapidot and Noa Ragonis. 2011.  Evaluation, pp. 165-179 in Guide to Teaching in Computer Science: An activity based approach. New York: Springer. []

Shepard, L. A. 2000. The Role of Assessment in a Learning Culture. Educational Researcher29(7), 4-14. [JSTOR]

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


Grading Rubrics GSI Teaching and Resource Center [see links in right-hand column to explanations and examples of rubrics]


Background Reading

Grading Student Work. GSI Teaching and Resource Center

Meizlish, D. 2005. Promoting Academic Integrity in the Classroom. CRLT Occasional Papers20. [UMichigan

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

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

Though we will have touched on assignment grading earlier, this class will discuss the challenges of assessment and evaluation of the work of a semester. Consider how you will assess the final assignments of the course you are teaching and of the syllabus you are building.  With these in mind, please submit to the discussion list a rubric for your grading.  This should either be a modified rubric of the class you are currently GSI for (in which case, please include the original rubric that you are modifying), or, for PhD candidates, a new rubric for the course you are designing.  Please post these to the "Assessment and Evaluation" Discussion page by Wednesday night so that we can talk them through together on Thursday.



Nov 15Course Critique

This class will ask you to provide constructive critiques of the class in which you are GSI, letting us know what you have learned, what did not or did not go well, and what amendments you would make if you could.  The masters students whose final project involves revising the syllabus of the course they are working with will be expected to present a first draft of that revised syllabus.  Masters students who are not teaching this semester will be asked to present a critique of a course they are taking. 


Davis, B.G. 2009. Designing or Revising a Course, The Comprehensive Course Syllabus, pp. 3-36 in Tools for Teaching[ebrary]

Skim Barbara Gross Davis's chapters on "Designing or Revising a Course" --see the reading for this class above.  Note that Gross Davis begins by suggesting that faculty should be guided by their students.  This assignment assumes that they should also be guided by their GSIs. 

Use some of Gross Davis's main points to analyze the syllabus that you have been working with this this semester, considering, for instance, what the course was planned to accomplish; its learning outcomes; the "baggage" that might not have been "tossed," as she puts it; the "big idea"; the design of assignments; the workload; and so forth.   With luck, Gross Davis's top-level issues should help you to define your own objectives in revising your syllabus.  Choose three or four of these issues (or supplement them with points that you think important but that she overlooks), add some brief notes to each on how you think the point applies to the syllabus you are working on, and post this to the discussion  list "Revising your syllabus."  We will then ask you to expand on these points in class as part of a general discussion of syllabus analysis and revision.  (Please try to submit your list by Wednesday night so that the discussants can assimilate them to their slides in time for the class on Thursday.) With luck, the resulting discussion will make easier the semester's remaining task of turning these ideas into a revised syllabus which you will present on a poster in the last class and then submit to me as your final project.




Nov 29 (and Dec 6 if needed):What We Have Learned/How We Will Teach -- Poster Session of Final Projects
For this final class, we will have a poster session for the group to assess each other's final projects.  Please bring a poster to illustrate the key elements of the changes that you have made between the original syllabus and your revised version.  And come prepared both to comment on others' projects and to respond to comments on your own.

When you have assimilated the comments of your classmates, please submit the original and final syllabus to me by December 6 in a convenient form (i.e. as a pdf, google doc, or similar).

Course Summary:

Date Details Due