January 2021 TA Institute

From January 11 – 15, the CTLT Teaching Assistant (TA) Institute includes a collection of workshops designed to support TAs as their roles change along with the move to online courses. The week of professional development workshops are open to graduate students and undergraduate TAs. This year, workshops are organized into 6 themes, and if you complete 4 workshops within a theme, and complete the related pre & post-session online modules, you are eligible for a letter of completion that you can include in your Teaching Portfolio and CV.
Schedule of Events (PDF)

Register for sessions below:

Online Presentation and Lecturing Skills

Monday, Jan. 11 | 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Zoom

THEME: IMPLEMENTING IMPACTFUL TEACHING PRACTICES | TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY

With the shift to online teaching and learning, TAs are being asked to deliver material through new mediums. In this module we will focus on how to avoid common missteps when we’re tasked to do this, and to better make use of the medium’s advantages.

Facilitators:

Jeff Bale, PhD Candidate, Physics and Astronomy
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Asynchronous Teaching: Meaningful Participation, Discussion, and Assessment

Monday, Jan. 11 | 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. | Zoom

THEME: IMPLEMENTING IMPACTFUL TEACHING PRACTICES | TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY

“Asynchronous teaching” means any activity done by learners while the instructor is not present. Even though many courses typically include asynchronous components (e.g. readings, essays, or homework), the present context of emergency remote teaching invites us to reflect more deeply on the possibilities of asynchronous instruction.

Participants in this workshop will explore the dynamics of asynchronous instructor-to-student and student-to-student interaction and the role of these interactions in supporting learning. We’ll talk about connecting with students socially as well as cognitively, and how to guide their learning even when we’re not “there”.

Facilitators:

Jacob Goldowitz, PhD Student, History
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Leading Online Synchronous Discussions… When should I? How should I?

Monday, Jan. 11 | 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Zoom

THEME: IMPLEMENTING IMPACTFUL TEACHING PRACTICES | TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY

As TAs in the online environment, we want to find creative ways to actively engage our students. One of the strategies we might consider is the use of discussions. However, introducing and leading discussions can be daunting and fraught with uncertainty. Other times, we may question the value of discussions for student learning. This workshop will provide strategies to run discussions successfully in a synchronous online environment. Specifically, by the end of this workshop participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate the rationale for including a discussion in a lesson plan
  2. Align a specific discussion technique with the learning objective(s) of the lesson
  3. Describe solutions to challenges that arise while leading discussions online

Facilitators:

Peter Grin, PhD Candidate, Centre for Blood Research, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Cassandra Elphinstone, PhD Candidate, Department of Botany

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Accessibility-Centred Design: Creating Inclusive Asynchronous Learning Environments

Tuesday, Jan. 12 | 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Zoom

THEMES: TEACHING FOR INCLUSION AND ACCESSIBILITY | DESIGNING FOR IMPACTFUL TEACHING

This session will discuss the importance of making accessibility a core principle in designing online classroom learning activities. We will identify actionables for eliminating barriers in asynchronous learning and enabling meaningful access in the online environment. We will also discuss the role of the TA in facilitating student accessibility.

Facilitators:

Sai Diwan, PhD student, Asian Studies

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Designing Impactful Activities for Online Learning

Tuesday, Jan. 12 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Zoom

THEMES: TEACHING FOR INCLUSION AND ACCESSIBILITY | DESIGNING FOR IMPACTFUL TEACHING | DESIGNING FOR IMPACTFUL TEACHING

Especially with online teaching, we as instructors and TAs need to work extra hard to bring our students in to each and every lesson. We know that teaching and learning online is difficult, so how can we ensure that the quality of our learners’ online education meets the same standards of excellence as in face-to-face teaching? In this workshop, we will aim to understand how students learn best. We will develop tangible steps to think about engaging our learners in the learning process and hope that participants will leave this workshop with easy-to-implement strategies and tools to develop impactful activities that are aligned with course objectives.

Facilitators:

Jonathan Agyeman, PhD Student, Statistics
Jennifer Brown, PhD Candidate, Pharmaceutical Sciences

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The Early Alert Orientation – Connecting Students with Support

Wednesday, Jan. 13 | 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. | Zoom

Theme: CENTERING STUDENT AND TA WELLNESS | PROFESSIONAL (INTERPERSONAL) SKILLS

Early Alert (EA) helps students who are facing academic or wellness challenges before they become overwhelming. Faculty, staff and TAs can easily use the Early Alert Program to connect UBC students with the support they need, when they need it. Join this session to learn how to access and use the EA system in the new online and modified learning environment.

Facilitators:

Brian Barth, Manager, Student Support Services

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Marking and Feedback: Providing Oral Feedback Online & Written Feedback on Essays

Wednesday, Jan. 13 | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. | Zoom

Theme: IMPLEMENTING IMPACTFUL TEACHING PRACTICES | DESIGNING FOR IMPACTFUL TEACHING | PROFESSIONAL (INTERPERSONAL) SKILLS

In this session we will develop strategies to provide oral and written feedback on written assessments of student learning. We will apply student motivation and current approaches to learning theory to create best practices for providing feedback. Finally, we will devise strategies to accelerate the pace in which you can provide feedback while still delivering meaningful, useful, and directive comments.

Facilitators:

Kyle Gooderham, PhD student, Department of Psychology

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Time Management Skills for Graduate Students and TAs

Wednesday, Jan. 13 | 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. | Zoom

Theme: CENTERING STUDENT AND TA WELLNESS | PROFESSIONAL (INTERPERSONAL) SKILLS

Are you struggling to balance the many tasks of being a graduate student and teaching assistant? Are you a procrastinator? Has working online changed your workflow? If you answered yes to either of these, this session is for you! Through reflection and collaboration, we will develop strategies to mitigate distractions, prioritize tasks, and set goals around time management for the new semester.

Facilitators:

Lindsay Fraughton, MA student, Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies

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Intentional Technology Use for Impactful Teaching

Thursday, Jan. 14 | 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Zoom

THEMES: DESIGNING FOR IMPACTFUL TEACHING | TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY

In March 2020, various web tools and associated peripherals (like webcams and tablets) abruptly became essential teaching resources. This happened within an existing technological context of photocopiers, partial use of Canvas, occasional lecture recording, and much else. Sometimes, a technology is chosen for the classroom, and it genuinely helps students learn better; we all have our own stories about when things go otherwise, if not as teaching assistants then as students ourselves. As teaching assistants, what is our role in choosing and using teaching technologies that best support our students’ learning? Which decisions about teaching technologies are ours to make, and how can we make sure we are prepared to make them? In this session, participants will use reflection, role-play, and creative expression, guided by the facilitator, to develop their own answers to these questions, which they can apply in their teaching assistant roles.

Facilitators:

Sophie MacDonald, PhD student in Mathematics

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Holding Space for Anti-Racism and Solidarity in Teaching Practice: Recognizing and interrupting harmful classroom dynamics

Thursday, Jan. 14 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Zoom

THEMES: TEACHING FOR INCLUSION AND ACCESSIBILITY | IMPLEMENTING IMPACTFUL TEACHING PRACTICES | CENTERING STUDENT AND TA WELLNESS | PROFESSIONAL (INTERPERSONAL) SKILLS

In this session we will identify key concepts in anti-racism and solidarity. Through an interrogation of complex identities in teaching practice, we will provide session participants with tools and approaches that they can employ to identify racism and interrupt harmful dynamics in the learning sphere. Teaching strategies in this session include reflection, small group work, and other interactive modalities. The workshop is both a teaching tool and resource for participants to explore their own teaching contexts.

Facilitators:

Colin Dring, PhD Candidate, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems
Kari Grain, Educational Consultant, CTLT; Sessional Instructor, Faculty of Education

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Navigating Indigenous Topics with Care in Online and In-Person Classroom Environments

Thursday, Jan. 14 | 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Zoom

THEMES: TEACHING FOR INCLUSION AND ACCESSIBILITY

Facilitating discussions may be challenging for TAs, especially when those discussions involve Indigenous issues. In the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and the 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan, UBC members have the responsibility to navigate Indigenous issues with care. In this workshop, TAs will reflect on some challenges that may arise in-person and online discussions about Indigenous issues and some strategies to address these challenges with care and responsibility.

Facilitators:

Hannah Coderre, Educational Consultant, Indigenous Initiatives
Claudia Diaz, Educational Consultant, Indigenous Initiatives

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Navigating and Managing Online Communication: Designing and Fostering a Respectful Learning Environment

Friday, Jan. 15 | 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Zoom

THEMES: TEACHING FOR INCLUSION AND ACCESSIBILITY | IMPLEMENTING IMPACTFUL TEACHING PRACTICES | DESIGNING FOR IMPACTFUL TEACHING | PROFESSIONAL (INTERPERSONAL) SKILLS | TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY

Establishing respectful learning environments can be challenging when students have diverse learning experiences, and even more so in classrooms that use both synchronous and asynchronous online environments. This session will provide opportunities for TAs to establish practical guidelines for designing respectful learning environments, develop strategies to encourage respectful online communication, and analyze the uses and limitations of several teaching technologies and applications in fostering a respectful online learning environment. This session will also model numerous activities through peer-to-peer engagement for an enriched experience of online learning environments.

Facilitators:

Lesley Wong, PhD student, Faculty of Education

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Teaching Effectively with Faculty: Navigating Professional Relationships in Online Teaching

Friday, Jan. 15 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Zoom

THEMES: CENTERING STUDENT AND TA WELLNESS | PROFESSIONAL (INTERPERSONAL) SKILLS

More than ever, effective working relationships between TAs and instructors are key for students to feel supported in their learning. This workshop is intended for TAs who are thinking about how best navigate their interactions with faculty members in online course(s). In this session, we will identify key elements of an effective working relationship, brainstorm strategies for addressing challenges when working with faculty members, and develop communication plans.

Facilitators:

Shaya Golparian, PhD, Educational Developer: TA Development Programs
Lindsay Fraughton, MA Student, Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies
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