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Society for the Teaching of Psychology
Division 2 of the American Psychological Association


Welcome to the GSTA blog! 

In an effort to keep the Graduate Student Teaching Association (GSTA) blog current, we regularly welcome submissions from graduate students as well as full-time faculty. Recently we have made the decision to expand and diversify the blog content to include submissions ranging from new research in the area of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), public interest topics related to teaching and psychology, occasional book reviews, as well as continuing our traditional aim by including posts about teaching tips. The blog posts are typically short, ranging from about 500-1000 words, not including references. As it is an online medium, in-text hyperlinks, graphics, and even links to videos are strongly encouraged!

If you are interested in submitting a post, please email us at We are especially seeking submissions in one of the five topic areas:

  • Highlights of your current SoTL research
  • Issues related to teaching and psychology in the public interest
  • Reviews of recent books related to teaching and psychology
  • Teaching tips and best practices for today's classroom
  • Advice for successfully navigating research and teaching demands of graduate school

We would especially like activities that align with APA 2.0 Guidelines!

This blog is intended to be a forum for graduate students and educators to share ideas and express their opinions about tried-and-true modern teaching practices and other currently relevant topics regarding graduate students’ teaching.

If you would like for any questions to be addressed, you can send them to and we will post them as a comment on your behalf.

Thanks for checking us out,

The GSTA Blog Editorial Team:

Hallie Jordan, Sarah Frantz, Maya Rose, and Charles Raffaele

Follow us on twitter @gradsteachpsych or join our Facebook Group.

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  • 25 Feb 2014 11:33 AM | Anonymous

    By Danielle DeNigris

    I believe that learning is a dialectical process in which both students and instructor   must actively participate.  However when you are staring at the faces of 100-plus students, the task of getting each to voice their opinion may seem difficult, if not impossible.  There appear to be many obstacles towards student participation including fear of public speaking, fear of being criticized by peers or the instructor, and language barriers.  These fears may be heightened in larger classes.  Another factor that may negatively affect the quality of classroom discussions is the classroom environment itself.  For instructors teaching in a large classroom or auditorium, projecting one’s voice so that all students can hear comes naturally.  Students, on the other hand, typically do not have this experience and as such speak at a volume just loud enough that only the instructor can hear.  This leaves many other students out of the discussion simply due to their inability to hear one another. 

    As today’s approach to education has shifted to a student-centered paradigm (Celik, 2013), many instructors have begun to seek out new instructional methods through the use of technology.  These technological tools have been continually adapted for the classroom environment and allow for students to interact with material at a potentially more accessible and meaningful level.  Among the various technological resources, online discussion board forums have seen an increase in use to supplement classroom learning.  Discussion boards have become an important tool in facilitating instructors in the creation of an environment in which all students will feel more comfortable sharing questions, reactions, and theories.  The following activity illustrates the way in which discussion board forums can be effectively used to encourage participation from all students in large lecture halls.

    Blackboard, By Winslow HomerThrough the use of the Blackboard I allow students access to the discussion board forum in which they must respond to various prompts.  Typically, I will post an empirical article, critical question, or video that I find is relatable to students of all levels (for example, I have recently used RSA Animate videos and TED Talks).  Students are then required to post a minimum of three times per forum activity.  Of these three posts, at least two must be in response to another student.  With so many students this allows for diversity in the topics being discussed enabling students to choose a topic of personal interest rather than being forced to respond solely to a prompt determined by the instructor.  Students are then graded based on their responses in terms of quality and quantity (at least three posts have been made).  I have successfully used this activity in two large (200 students) and two medium (50 students) lecture halls and have found that the students who rarely participate during class-time tend to enjoy the activity and post more than the minimum of three times.

    Research has highlighted the value of discussion boards (e.g., Celik, 2013; Harman & Koohang, 2005).  By allowing students to communicate with one another via an online forum, an environment is created in which students may feel more comfortable voicing their opinions with each other.  Students are able to process their thoughts and edit their comments before sharing, minimizing the fear of criticism.  Discussion board activities also encourage students to communicate with one another leading to student-student participation rather than the typical student-instructor paradigm characteristic of in-class discussions.  Additionally, this type of activity promotes the development of critical thinking skills as students are exposed to differing perspectives and challenges to their viewpoint.  Students are also able to build off of one another’s ideas leading to collaborative thinking that may not have developed in the classroom.


    Celik, S. (2013). Unspoken social dynamics in an online discussion group: The disconnect between attitudes overt behavior of English language teaching graduate students. Educational Technology Research and Development, 61, 665-683.

    Harman, K., & Koohang, A. (2005). Discussion board: A learning object. Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects, 1, 67-77.

  • 19 Feb 2014 6:26 PM | Anonymous
    We will periodically post a graduate student teaching tip or idea related to teaching. The tips, written by graduate students, are sourced directly from classroom practices and syntheses of recent teaching related research.

    If you would like to submit a tip for consideration send it to us at, subject line Blog and your potential title! Submissions should be between 500-1000 words and images are encouraged (just be sure you have the rights to that image!).

    One way to be sure is to follow these directions
    (Creative commons google images link:
    Select google images or Flickr).

    Any questions post them as comments below or send them to or twitter@gradsteachpsych.

    Thanks for checking us out.

    The GSTA Blog Editorial Team:

    Philip Kreniske, Kasey Powers, Francis Yannaco and Theresa Fiani

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