Teaching Orientation for Graduate Students
The Center for Teaching and Learning offers graduate students a set of orientation sessions designed to supplement department-based orientation and training. Topics include tactics to get classes off to a good start, best practices in feedback and grading, introduction to active learning principles and approaches, inventories of teaching policies and resources at Columbia, and guidance for using CourseWorks (Canvas). Teaching orientation is open to all new teaching assistants, teaching fellows, and graduate students in an instructor role.
Sciences and Engineering
Thursday, August 31, 2017
CESPR and Mudd Hall
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Humanities and Social Sciences
Friday, September 1, 2017
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
The CTL teaching orientation for graduate students provides guidance for getting a discussion section, lab, or other teaching assignment off to a good start, providing efficient and effective feedback to students, navigating difficult situations that may arise, and tracking and reflecting on the development of your teaching practices. A limited number of microteaching practice sessions will be running after the main orientation.
Orientation resources include FAQs for TAs at Columbia, a Syllabus Checklist, and Canvas tutorials. Sessions running at orientation include:
Preparing to Teach:
Ways to get your class, session, or lab off to a great start, including setting a positive, inclusive tone and establishing policies and expectations.
Active Learning and Interactive Classrooms:
Strategies to promote student engagement and participation in lecture, discussion, and lab–and bolster their actual learning.
Grading, Rubrics, and Feedback:
Best practices for communicating expectations to students, and efficiently producing assessments of their learning.
Navigating Thorny Situations As a TA:
Discussion of difficult cases with peers, experienced Teaching Assistants, and representatives of support offices (Student Conduct and Community Standards; Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action; Psychological and Counseling Services, Disability Services).
Frequently Asked Questions
Email your questions to CTLgrads@columbia.edu.
Who can participate?
This orientation is open to all graduate student instructors. It is especially useful for graduate students who are new to teaching.
Are any of the resources from the orientations available online?
CTL staff are available to meet with you to talk about any of the topics listed in the program description above. Some helpful resources are also listed below.
- Frequently Asked Questions for TAs
- Teaching at Columbia
- Online Tutorial: Introduction to Canvas
- How Faculty Can Work with TAs Effectively (Brown University)
- Questions TAs Might Ask Their Supervisors (Vanderbilt University)
I have a scheduling conflict with orientation – will you be running these session again?
CTL runs expanded versions of orientation sessions during the academic year, as well as microteaching practice sessions. Join the CTL mailing list to be alerted about upcoming opportunities.