This semester for my Digital Collections course I put together a small digital collection for physics TAs.
You can visit my collection, the Physics TA Library.
Why I built it
Physics graduate schools often hire teaching assistants (TAs) to teach introductory physics courses and laboratories. These teaching assistants are typically graduate students with normal course loads and little to no formal teaching experience. They are therefore unfamiliar with general teaching and classroom management strategies. Additionally, they may also be unfamiliar with the Physics Education Research (PER) community and the tools, resources, and techniques they have developed to help physics teachers make a greater impact in the classroom.
Collection Proposal, Purpose, and Goals
In this environment, I built a collection of 50+ resources targeted directly at serving the physics TA population. Resources include links to teaching resources and support articles introducing TAs to PER. Additionally, forums are available to anyone that registers an account so that TAs can share teaching and research tips with each other.
The goal of the digital collection is to help bridge the teaching experience gap by providing targeted resources that help to improve the teaching practice of new TAs. A secondary purpose is to introduce physics TAs to the vetted, high-quality online teaching resources developed by the PER community.
What I learned
For this proposal, I used the comPADRE Digital Library’s platform. This was my first time using the interface from a cataloger’s perspective, and so I was surprised at how much time it actually took to catalog something from scratch. My initial estimation was that I could select ~100 total resources and catalog maybe 30 from scratch in 25 hours. However, that estimate forgot to include time for creating header images, adjusting the policies, about pages, faq, and putting out fires. Once I factored that time into my 25 hours, ~35 appropriate existing comPADRE records were added to the collection (with adjusted metadata as necessary), and ~15 new records were cataloged from scratch. Given the specificity of metadata fields (see a detail page here), cataloging from scratch took much longer than I thought.
All in all, I think it came out well though and I hope you find it interesting. I’d love to hear any feedback you have.