How one program’s efforts will enhance online learning for 28,000 undergraduates at Cal Published: February 11, 2021 By: Kathleen Aycock A new program aimed at improving how graduate student instructors design and teach courses remotely returns for a second iteration. Graduate student instructors shoulder an array of responsibilities. Under the mentorship of faculty, they teach discussion sections and labs associated with large courses as well as studios and sections of foreign language and Reading and Composition courses; they mentor undergraduate students; serve as an informal sounding board for ideas for students and faculty alike; and, in a remote environment, help ensure that online teaching and learning meets the same high standards (with even greater flexibility) as in-person instruction. To support GSIs in this expanded role, the GSI Teaching and Resource Center launched the Graduate Remote Instruction Innovation Fellows Program to help GSIs strengthen competencies and develop innovative approaches to teaching and supporting faculty in a remote environment. The first 8-week iteration of the program welcomed 260 graduate students in summer 2020. Due to high demand and positive feedback, the program welcomed a second cohort (“GRI 2.0“) in December, led by 15 Remote Instruction Leadership Fellows (graduates from from the initial cohort) and Graduate Division staff. Based on enrollment data provided by faculty, the 219 GRI 2.0 participants will impact the learning of 28,000 undergraduates this semester across 62 departments. For their final projects, fellows submitted not only the instructional materials they created, but also narrative statements describing the project undertaken, its value to the campus, challenges encountered, and lessons learned. Fellows tackled projects ranging from restructuring anthropology courses and assignments originally designed for tactile engagement to integrating new technologies like Screencastify, Perusall, Kahoot! into Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies courses. “Graduate students have really stepped up to the plate to ensure undergraduates receive the best instruction possible in the remote environment,” shared Assistant Dean for Professional Development Linda von Hoene. “We hope to continue to develop these offerings moving forward. Learning how to design courses and teach effectively — whether online or in-person — prepares graduate students for so many different careers, both within and beyond academia.” Read a description of the GRI Innovation Fellows Program on the Graduate Division’s website and browse the summary report of our GRI 2.0 program.