MFA students who have the necessary qualifications and a grade point average (GPA) above 3.3 may be awarded teaching assistantships (T.A).
Student teaching assistant or teaching positions are available during the second year of the degree providing an opportunity to develop your teaching resume.
We caught up with MFA Transdisciplinary New Media student Jono Brandel about his experience as a T.A!
What is your background in?
I studied graphic design at UCLA and graduated in 2008. Since then I’ve been bouncing around technology companies. Big ones like Google, but also startups like Virtual and Augmented Reality story telling company WITHIN.
What class did you assist?
I assisted Gokce Taskan’s Art of Code course in the Trandisciplinary New Media department.
Can you describe your responsibilities during the placement?
I interviewed with Gokce prior to the year starting. We went over my background and his pedagogy for the course. He then sent me the curriculum and invited me to select a class to teach. I selected to teach a 3 hour session on Visualizing Audio in p5.js, an online programming environment. Aside from teaching this one session, I sat in on every class and helped students as needed. I also held “office hours” open to all students at PCA.
Has this experience influenced your thoughts about your career?
Being on the teaching side of the classroom is something I’ve definitely considered in the past. Being an assistant has been a great way to get my feet wet without the full pressure of guiding a full classroom. It’s definitely encouraged me to more seriously think about education as a career path.
What class/project/assignment at PCA has prepared you to be a TA?
The research courses has helped me organize my thoughts more clearer and the Storytelling course, which I took as an elective, helped me string ideas together in order to convey a narrative. In this way, I feel more confident presenting to peers, students, and professors a variety of ideas.
What did you gain from your assistanceship?
Working with Gokce has been really rewarding. He has been very encouraging of my projects and ability to teach. Being his assistant forged a strong relationship with a fellow creative coder, designer, and creative thinker. I value his opinion and don’t think I would have this opportunity if I hadn’t been his assistant. In addition to the relationship with Gokce, holding office hours has given me a great opportunity to meet many of the undergraduate students, what they’re up to, and how they’d like to use code. It’s a great way to be part of the community.
What are your plans after PCA?
Currently, I’m focused on finishing my thesis. I’ll be moving back to the US, where I’m from, after graduation, but as far as plans I’m going to spend the summer thinking of my next career steps and go from there.