Teaching Orientation for Graduate Students
CTL offers graduate student instructors orientation resources and sessions to learn about practical, evidence-based strategies that they can implement on the first day of class. These orientations help supplement department-based orientations and trainings. CTL orientations are open to all new teaching assistants, teaching fellows, and graduate students in an instructor role.
Fall 2023 Teaching Orientation
In Fall 2023 CTL is offering orientation materials online, available to graduate students anytime, and running live, in-person debrief sessions.
Five orientation modules are available to all with a Columbia UNI here. These five modules address the following topics:
- Establishing instructional goals and an inclusive learning climate
- TA teaching roles and modalities
- Creating a policy sheet and a first day of class plan
- Common TA challenges, campus resources that help to navigate them
- Next steps for teaching and professional development
Live debrief session
CTL is also offering a live debrief session for participants to discuss highlights of these modules, get individual feedback on policy sheets or first day of class plans, and engage in a general Q&A with CTL staff. Any current graduate student is welcome to attend. Participants should engage with the on-demand modules prior to the session.
Teaching Orientation Debrief Session – Thursday, August 31, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, 212 Butler Library | Register
Orientation available now!
Current Columbia graduate students are able to access CTL’s Teaching Orientation materials at any time.
About CTL teaching orientations for graduate students
The Center for Teaching and Learning offers graduate student instructors orientation modules so they can learn about practical, evidence-based strategies that they can implement with their students. These modules help supplement departmental orientations and trainings. Faculty and administrators planning departmental orientations are encouraged to make use of materials in these modules as appropriate, and to send any questions about them to CTLgrads@columbia.edu.
The asynchronous modules and live debrief sessions, organized and facilitated by CTL staff and experienced graduate student instructors, enable participants to develop effective strategies for engaging with students during the first week of classes. This includes the development of policy statements that communicate course expectations and help establish an inclusive and dynamic learning environment. Participants will also be introduced to approaches to help prevent and respond to difficult situations that Teaching Assistants and Teaching Fellows may find themselves in, and learn about resources and offices on campus that can help.
Work completed at a CTL teaching orientation satisfies a Foundational Track requirement of CTL’s Teaching Development Program (TDP).
Next steps after orientation
CTL’s orientation gets you prepared for the first week of classes. Here are ways to get deeper and just-in-time teaching support from CTL after orientation:
- Register for the Teaching Development Program
- Sign up for Essentials of Teaching and Learning workshops
- Sign up for a Microteaching Practice Session
- Visit live CTL office hours for graduate students (resuming in mid-August) or request an individual consultation
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can participate in CTL’s orientation?
This orientation is open to all graduate student instructors. It is especially useful for graduate students who are new to teaching.
Does this orientation provide guidance for working as a TA online?
Orientation modules touch on aspects of working with students online, but they are more focused on providing a general introduction to teaching and working as a TA. New TAs who are interested in developing online teaching skills are encouraged to enroll in CTL’s Supporting Hybrid & Online Learning & Teaching (SHOLT) course after they have completed this orientation.
For guidance on setting up and using Zoom features, sign up for a CUIT Zoom training session. For guidance on using CourseWorks features, see CourseWorks resources, training, and live help available from CTL.
What is the Teaching Development Program, and how does it relate to teaching orientations?
CTL’s new Teaching Development Program (TDP) allows doctoral students to cultivate, document, and articulate their teaching development across the arc of their graduate school career. Participation in the TDP is not a requirement for attending CTL teaching orientations. However, work completed at a CTL orientation counts towards completion of the Foundational Track of the TDP. More information about TDP requirements, certification, and transcript notation is available here.
Are any of the resources from the orientations available seperately?
- Frequently Asked Questions for TAs
- CTL programs for graduate students who are beginning to teach
- Online Tutorial: Introduction to Canvas
- Guide to Inclusive Teaching at Columbia
CTL staff is available to meet with you to talk about any aspect of working with students as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Fellow.
I had a scheduling conflict with scheduled orientation sessions – will you be running them again?
The asynchronous modules will remain available to the Columbia community throughout the academic year. If you cannot make the scheduled synchronous debrief sessions but have a question or would like live guidance, email CTLgrads@columbia.edu or visit CTLgrads office hours in 212 Butler LIbrary (Fridays, 2:00 – 4:00 PM, beginning in late August).
CTL runs Essentials of Teaching and Learning workshops, which build on orientation sessions during the academic year, as well as microteaching practice sessions. Join the CTL email list to be alerted about upcoming workshops and opportunities.
The CTL is here for graduate students.
The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning provides an array of support for graduate students in both their current and future teaching responsibilities.