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Orientation for Graduate Students

The CTL offers new Teaching Assistants 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.


When and Where

If this program is currently running, you can find related events via the Events Calendar. Participants are welcome to register for individual sessions or the whole series.

Fall 2016 Orientations

For Teaching Assistants in the
Humanities and Social Sciences 

Thursday, September 1 | Register
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Butler Library Room 203

For Teaching Assistants in the
Natural, Health, and Applied Sciences 

Friday, September 2 | Register
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
501 Northwest Corner Building
550 West 120th Street
Room 501

Program Description

Participants can select among the following topics in our concurrent sessions:

Preparing to Teach: Get ready to facilitate student learning by planning for the start of your class and reflecting on your teaching practices.

Grading, Rubrics, and Feedback: Learn evidence-based practices for designing assessments, communicating expectations, and providing feedback on student learning.

Active Learning and Interactive Classrooms: Explore strategies and approaches to promote student engagement in lecture, discussion, and lab.

Preparing to Teach: Ways to get your class, session, or lab off to a great start, including setting a positive tone and establishing policies and expectations.

Grading, Rubrics, and Feedback: Best practices for communicating expectations to students, and efficiently producing assessments of their learning.

CourseWorks Essentials: Learn evidence-based practices for designing assessments, communicating expectations, and providing feedback on student learning.

Beyond the Classroom: Campus Resources for Teaching Fellows: Discussion of difficult cases with representatives of support offices (Student Conduct and Community Standards; Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action; Psychological and Counseling Services, Disability Services)

Experienced Teaching Assistants will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice. The CTL also offers limited slots for microteaching practice sessions on both days.

Frequently Asked Questions

Email your questions to

Who can participate?

This orientation is open to all graduate student instructors. It is especially useful for new or incoming graduate students.

I can’t attend the orientation sessions. Are any of the resources from the orientations going to be available online?

Here are links to some helpful resources. This should help get you started!

Engage with programs at the CTL.

Register for Events

Find upcoming events to develop your teaching skills.

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Reach out to the CTL by email or phone.