Previous research has explored the influence of co-teaching models on student learning in the K-12 grade curriculum. However, little research explores the effects of co-teaching models implemented in higher education among graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). This study examines the benefits and drawbacks of co-teaching models in higher education classes for both GTAs and students. Surveys and interviews were used to collect data from 36 undergraduate students and three GTAs at a mid-sized Midwestern university. In addition to measures of cognitive and affective learning, content analysis of the surveys, interviews, and a reflexive journal were used to identity emerging themes pertaining to the benefits, drawbacks, and student learning outcomes of co-teaching in higher education. Results reveal that GTAs perceive a variety of teaching approaches, instructor experiences, instructor chemistry, and instructor approachability as benefits of co-teaching. Drawbacks included power distances and lack of familiarity with co-teaching models to be drawbacks of co-teaching in higher education. Students claimed diverse instructor perspectives, variety of teaching styles, increased communication skills, and fresh perspectives to be benefits of co-teaching in higher education. Students found drawbacks included: a confusing class structure and rejection of traditional instructional styles. Additionally, students in co-teaching classrooms reported higher levels of affective learning when compared to students in traditional classrooms. Implications for utilizing the co-teaching as a model for training GTAs are explored.


Laura Jacobi

Committee Member

Kristi Treinen

Committee Member

Elizabeth Sandall

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Arts and Humanities