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Teaching Orientation for Graduate Students

CTL offers graduate students instructors orientation 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 2020 Teaching Orientations

Due to the unique circumstances of the Fall 2020 semester, CTL has shifted its orientations online.

On-demand modules

Five orientation modules are now available for on-demand (or asynchronous) access. These five modules address the following topics:

  • Establishing instructional goals and an inclusive learning climate
  • Overview of TA roles and online teaching support
  • 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

Access these orientation modules by enrolling in this Canvas course

Access the orientation now!

Enroll in the Fall 2020 Orientation to Teaching course for on-demand access to modules.

About CTL teaching orientations for graduate students

The Center for Teaching and Learning offers graduate student instructors orientation sessions to learn about practical, evidence-based strategies that they can implement with their students. These orientations help supplement departmental orientations and trainings.

The asynchronous resources and synchronous 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).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate?

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 elsewhere?

CTL staff is available to meet with you to talk about any aspect of working with students as a Teaching Assistant or Teaching Fellow.

What is the next step after orientation?

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.