Bass Digital Education Fellows Spotlight Series: Dayton Kinney Trains Fellow Graduate Students

The Bass Digital Education Fellowship program is a joint effort by Duke Learning Innovation and the Duke Graduate School that began in 2019. This academic year, the Digital Education program welcomed its second cohort of Bass fellows. These six fellows took part in a year-long fellowship that offers PhD students an opportunity to collaborate on digital projects in partnership with Duke faculty and under the guidance of Learning Innovation. 

Dayton Kinney headshot
Dayton Kinney

Dayton Kinney, a PhD candidate in Music Composition, began working with Duke Learning Innovation in Summer 2020 to help prepare graduate students and instructors for a year of emergency remote teaching. A major component of this work included being a member of the Graduate Summer Academy and Online Teaching Assistant Skills Training teams, providing her colleagues with the skills they would need to successfully navigate the online environment. As a Bass Digital Education Fellow, Kinney continued her work with these projects, revising and innovating new content throughout the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.

Working with the director of the Bass Digital Education Fellowship program and Learning Innovation consultant Sophia Stone, EdD, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at the Graduate School Hugh Crumley, PhD, project advisor and Learning Innovation consultant Seth Anderson — as well as faculty, staff and graduate students across the university — Kinney’s work with graduate students fulfilled a large training need at Duke.

Leading Online Teaching Academy Sessions

As part of the teaching team for the Graduate Academy course centered around “Online Teaching,” Kinney developed a module and resources for the last day of the Summer and Winter academies called “An Entrepreneurial Approach to Teaching.” Given the importance social media and an online teaching portfolio now plays in graduate student professionalization and job searches, Kinney’s work provided academy participants with valuable information. In total, Kinney’s work with the “Online Teaching” course reached about 100 participants.

Kinney not only helped run the 2020-2021 instances of the course, but also participated in the creation of a living Sakai site to host teaching assistant resources and materials for future use. This site is currently being used across Duke by both teaching assistants and those who supervise them. If you are interested in accessing these resources, which include online teaching skills workshops, you can send Learning Innovation a request to be added to the Graduate Student Sakai site by emailing

Developing TA Online Skills Workshops

The Online TA Skills Workshop series, which ran twice in Summer 2020 and then again in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, reached about 900 participants in total. Participants included graduate students, undergraduates, faculty, post-docs, staff and other members of the Duke community. Participants were distributed across the schools at Duke.

Pie chart demonstrating the breakdown of majors of participants: Sciences & Engineering 45%, Social Sciences 18%, Art & Humanities 15%, Nursing 6%, Medicine 6%, Law 1%, Business 4%, and Other 5%
Kinney’s Bass Digital Education Fellow Showcase presentation highlighted the impact the Online TA Trainings had across Duke.

During the spring, Kinney also contributed to further program innovation, by organizing two new panels: “What I Wish I Had Known About Being a TA (at Duke)” and “Engaging Students in Large Classes with Active Learning,” which featured contributions by other Bass Digital Education Fellows. 

You can hear Kinney speak more about her work by watching her presentation for the Bass Digital Education Fellowship Spring Showcase below:

Learn More

You can read more about the general Bass Digital Education program experience, including the professional development opportunities offered to fellows.

If you are interested in learning more about participating in the Bass Digital Education Fellows program, subscribe to our newsletter to receive an alert when applications open for the next fellowship cohort. Applications for the 2020-2021 session are closed, but we provide more information for the 2022-2023 academic year in Fall 2021. Applications are submitted through the Graduate School. To see a full list of eligibility criteria and required application materials, visit the Graduate School site