Video 1: Expectations

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GUOLONG: Good morning, students.

STUDENTS: Good morning, Mr. Su.

GUOLONG: Can anyone tell me the answer, please?


GUOLONG: Is everything clear?

STUDENTS: Yes, perfectly clear.

GUOLONG: Are there any other questions?

STUDENTS: No, no questions.

GUOLONG: I will see you on Tuesday.

STUDENTS: Thank you.


NARRATOR: Wait a minute. That's not what happens in real life. Actual MIT undergraduates often come to class on three hours of sleep.

GUOLONG: Can anyone tell me the answer, please?

NARRATOR: Sometimes they're afraid to volunteer what might be the wrong answer.

GUOLONG: [INAUDIBLE] lecture by considering a simple example.

NARRATOR: They're not always paying attention.


NARRATOR: And they might not understand what you thought you explained well.

GUOLONG: Is everything clear?

STUDENTS: Not really.

NARRATOR: So how can you be a successful TA at MIT? Try thinking of your class as a popular website that visitors come back to again and again. What makes a website user-friendly?

CAROL: User-friendly to me means that in order to complete the task at hand, the website is designed in a way that's logical.

CHANDLER: Yeah. I feel like format, just a clean, simple format is really nice.

ADRIAN: It's not cluttered and messy.

BILLY: The most important things for a user-friendly website is a clear interface, simple categories, and a search option.

ADRIAN: And accessible language.

CHANDLER: So being able to find things very efficiently and quickly is definitely pretty important.

ADRIAN: I think it's more user-friendly when you can actually understand what they want you to do and where things are.

CAROL: Being able to find the right things in a way that's easy.

NARRATOR: In other words, a user-friendly website.

GUOLONG: Should be the designed with a thinking that to make the user feel happy and easy, instead of making the computer engineers to feel happy and easy.

NARRATOR: What if the engineer is a teacher and the user a student?

ADRIAN: The main principle of accessibility should be the same.

CHANDLER: A website should be simple, clean, and also, like, should have where you want to go right away. And a teacher should be able to judge where the students need, what the students need to where the students want to go and adapt in that way.

BILLY: I guess like the Search button would be asking the TA or asking the professor for more information.

ADRIAN: It's not necessarily that everyone is going to be your friend. But it's more about being easy to understand.

BILLY: In terms of having a clear interface, just a simple structure of the class, something that students can expect, like the lectures go the same way, the recitation go the same way, and something that students can expect.

NARRATOR: So organization and predictability are key to the user-friendly class.

CAROL: Planning that way in a logical session, where you, like, review things that are necessary and then going into problem, practice problems, and then going over what were the right answers, I thought that was, like, pretty user-friendly for a student. Because it was a good review and then good practice. So it was, like, logical.

TA: For today's recitation, we're going to do--

NARRATOR: The TA acts as a guide for the students.

BILLY: It's important to, well, explain the learning objectives of the class early on.

CHANDLER: Have just, like, an air of confidence and be able to direct the recitation.

BILLY: A very big expectation in a recitation is for the TA to provide us with the big picture of the concepts.

NARRATOR: The TA is approachable and supportive.

ADRIAN: You need to feel that you can approach them and ask questions without any problem.

NARRATOR: And knowledgeable.

CAROL: The most important thing for a TA is that they have to have a very solid understanding of what's going on in the material.

NARRATOR: But is knowledge enough?

BILLY: Unfortunately, it's not enough to simply be knowledgeable about the subject. It's the way you present it, the way you communicate it.

CHANDLER: They're all very smart. I know they all know what they're talking about. So it's just how they can communicate that to us.

NARRATOR: So what is good communication in the user-friendly classroom?

CHANDLER: The biggest thing that came across my mind was definitely, like, how they answered questions and the feedback they got the students and how they responded to that.

ADRIAN: It's not the same when they read a paper, and they just write the problem in the board and solve the problem than explaining, why is it going like this? Or why is it working like this?

CAROL: I think just a willingness to clarify is very, very important.

BILLY: Being patient and being able to explain the same concept in different ways.

ADRIAN: And they can actually explain it to you at a basic undergrad level.

NARRATOR: In the next videos, we will learn communication skills and strategies to meet students' expectations and create a user-friendly classroom.

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