• University of Groningen logo

Becoming a Student Assistant: Teaching and Mentoring

Learn how to be professionally involved in teaching, support and governing of higher education institutions.

22,325 enrolled on this course

A picture of student assistant Rowanne and student assistant Jon

Becoming a Student Assistant: Teaching and Mentoring

22,325 enrolled on this course

  • 5 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

Student assistants are valuable staff members at the University of Groningen. Currently, over 700 students take up teaching duties, support role functions, governing positions, and many other responsibilities.

But, how to prepare for a job as a student assistant? What is professional behaviour? How to deal with challenging situations in the classroom? How to support first year students? These and other questions will be covered in this course.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds My name is Jon Hummel. I’m a student in the master Technology and Operations Management at the University of Groningen. I became a student assistant because I was searching for more challenging aspects in my study. My name is Rowanne Degenhart. I am a research master student at the faculty of law. I got involved in the student council when I was helping students find accommodation. And then someone said, “Well, apparently you like to help other people and make their voice heard. So maybe you want to do that on the highest level within the university.” We get together every month, and we discuss the policies of the university and exchange ideas about them and put that forward to the board.

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds My tasks as a student assistant contains, for instance, teaching lessons, being invigilator at an exam, but also mentoring students to help students in their first steps at our university. I want to be a lawyer, and the skills that I learn this year are very useful because I have to debate with a lot of people and make a lot of good connections that maybe could help you do an awesome job afterwards. Well, the benefits of being a student assistant for my own study programme is that I have to teach courses that I have followed before. So it forces me to delve more information and knowledge out of that course.

Skip to 1 minute and 23 seconds What I like it is we can actually change a lot of things. Even though they don’t happen overnight, you can still see things happening because you put an effort in. How do you prepare for a student assistantship? How do you show professional behaviour in a higher education environment? How do you teach fellow students?

Skip to 1 minute and 51 seconds What challenges do you face when participating as a student in the governing bodies of the institution?


  • Week 1

    More than just a student

    • Introduction

      An introduction to the course and first week. Meet your fellow learners and educators.

    • Involving students: overview & benefits

      How exactly can students be involved in the organisation? Listen to interviews with the vice-chancellor and students or browse through the portfolio.

    • Circle of influence

      What lies within your circle of influence?

    • Professional behaviour

      An introduction to the concept of professional behaviour in an academic environment. The circle of influence and the professional behaviour framework will be explained.

    • Professional behaviour in an academic setting

      Student assistants are expected to be responsible, committed, to take initiative and to handle information confidentially. The organisation culture can make this possible.

    • Professional behaviour in practice

      In this activity several cases regarding professional behaviour are presented. How would you behave in a professional way if you experienced the situations described?

    • Conclusion Week 1

      A wrap up of this week’s content.

  • Week 2

    Principles of good education

    • Introduction Week 2

      An introduction to this week’s content. This week we will introduce you to some principles of good education.

    • Educational building blocks

      Get to know the main building blocks of a good course design and the principles of constructive alignment. You will come across the building blocks throughout Weeks 2, 3 and 4.

    • Learning outcomes

      An introduction to the first and central building block: the intended learning outcomes. Why do we need intended learning outcomes? What makes a good intended learning outcome?

    • Active learning

      An introduction to the building block: teaching and learning activities. Focussing on active learning.

    • Syllabus

      The syllabus, an essential document of any course.

    • Conclusion Week 2

      A wrap up of this week’s content.

  • Week 3

    Teaching students

    • Introduction Week 3

      An introduction to this week’s content. This week we will further explore the building block teaching and learning activities.

    • A good teacher

      What makes a good university teacher?

    • Small group teaching: preparation

      What are the first things to check when preparing for a small group teaching session? What are the conditions and set-up of a small group session?

    • Motivating students

      Why does motivation matter? How do you motivate your students?

    • Classroom management

      How to set the right tone with your students from the beginning? How to deal with challenging teaching situations?

    • Safe and inclusive learning environment

      Why does a safe and inclusive learning environment matter? How to foster a safe and inclusive learning environment. How to deal with academic cultural differences.

    • Conclusion Week 3

      A wrap up of this week’s content.

  • Week 4

    Coaching and communicating in an academic environment

    • Introduction Week 4

      An introduction to this week's content. This week we will focus on formative assessment, being a mentor and student representatives.

    • Formative assessment

      An introduction to the building block: assessment and feedback tasks. Focussing on formative assessment.

    • Introducing: the ideal mentor

      This activity and the two following will focus on being a mentor. First, what is a (good) mentor?

    • Study techniques

      Two animations on study techniques. Conversations regarding study techniques often take up most time of mentor group meetings.

    • Advising your mentor group

      How to give advice to your mentor group? How to deal with challenging situations in mentor group meetings?

    • Concluding content on teaching

      This activity will wrap up the content on teaching of this course.

    • Student representation

      Student representatives are part of most of the governing bodies of the university. An introduction to the tasks of the student representatives and the challenges they face.

    • Conclusion Week 4

      A wrap up of this week’s content.

  • Week 5

    Case studies

    • Introduction Week 5

      In this week we will put theory into practice. Seven case studies will be presented for you to solve.

    • Case study: a matter of teaching

      The first case study: a matter of teaching.

    • Case study: student associations

      The second case study: student associations.

    • Case study: digital exams

      The third case study: behaving professionally when supporting a digital examination.

    • Case study: another matter of teaching

      The fourth case study: another matter of teaching.

    • Case study: mentoring first-year students

      The fifth case study: mentoring first-year students.

    • Case study: the GEO Service

      The sixth case study: the Geo Service.

    • Case study: governing the university

      The seventh case study: governing the university.

    • Conclusion

      A wrap up of the course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Contribute professionally in a higher education working environment
  • Develop a well-founded opinion of what is a good university teacher and mentor
  • Identify the basic principles for designing a course
  • Explore the aspects of how to teach a small group session in an interactive way while paying attention to classroom management and atmosphere
  • Interpret the difference between directive and facilitative formative feedback
  • Reflect on challenges students participating in governing bodies face

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone with a passion for higher education. The course is specifically tailored to the needs of students and employees, who are involved in teaching, support and participation in governing bodies of higher education institutions.

What do people say about this course?

"Really, it has been a very educative online course. I appreciate the coverage and I will advise others to join this course, it is useful for beginners such as tutorial assistants/ trainers. I believe now I can use the techniques to work as a part time trainer/ instructor or student assistant with improved vision related to teaching and learning activities. Also, I have been impressed by the final conclusion on the governing the University. Thank you all and the University of Groningen, I am looking forward to joining another online course."

"This is one of the most interesting online course I have ever attended. I take interest in especially on how to give feedback to students, setting rules for classroom management, managing a disruptive student, etc. I also learn from the comments made by the participants. Thank you to the course designers and the University of Groningen."

Who will you learn with?

Lead educator of the course "Students Taking Charge of Higher Education" and
educational advisor and teacher trainer at the University of Groningen

My name is Klaas van Veen and I work as professor in educational studies and as director of the Teacher Education institute of the University of Groningen.

Hello, my name is Robbert van Veen. As educator of the course "Students Taking Charge of Higher Education", I helped design content about professional behaviour, mentoring and governing.

Hi! I am Sytske Dijkgraaf-Nijdam, a student assistant at the Educational Support and Innovation of the UG. Also, I am a mentor of the MOOC 'Student Assistant: Teaching and Mentoring'

Who developed the course?

University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands.

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe & save

Limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$109/one-off payment

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews


Fulfill your current learning needDevelop skills to further your careerSample the course materials
Access to this courseticktick

Access expires 25 Jul 2024

Access to 1,000+ coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Continue & Upgrade

Cancel for free anytime

Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 25 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #FLstudentsHE to talk about this course on social media.