From January 17–21, 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 will be organized into five themes, and if you complete four 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. Session materials and relevant resources will be curated on the UBC Wiki to support your ongoing learning.
TA Institute participants who meet the eligibility criteria for a Completion Letter will be receiving their letters by the end of March (see below for the eligibility criteria). If you meet the eligibility criteria and have any questions about the status of your letter after that date, please contact CTLT.TAInstitute@ubc.ca.
- Fully attended 4 sessions under a theme
- Completed the pre and post modules per theme(s)
- Submitted a completion form
The pre-session modules must be completed by January 17, 2022 by 9 am, and the post-session modules must be completed by January 31, 2022 at noon.
Register for sessions below:
Monday, Jan. 17 | 10:00 am – 11:30 am | Zoom
The social context in which our teaching and learning occurs is a crucial factor in how we achieve our learning outcomes. Building connections and community in our classrooms is essential to create the environment needed for our learners to be able to contribute their insight, question assumptions (their own & others’), offer different perspectives, and support each other in their learning. In this session, we will discuss considerations and develop strategies around building connections in the In-Person vs. Online contexts.
- Kieran Forde, PhD Student, Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy
- Laura Werbitsky, MA Student, Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy
Monday, Jan. 17 | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm | Zoom
Early Alert helps students who are facing academic or wellness difficulties before these difficulties become overwhelming. Faculty, staff and TAs can easily use the Early Alert system 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 UBC learning environment.
- Brian Barth, Manager, Student Support Services
- Amy Vozel, Student Support Services
Monday, Jan. 17 | 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm | Zoom
It can be difficult to identify barriers your students are facing with respect to participation in the classroom you are teaching. As a TA, how do you identify these barriers in the class, and communicate them with more senior instructors to address and resolve them? In this session, you will consider how to approach these questions by reflecting on your experiences with inclusion and accessibility in academia and working through relevant scenarios with your fellow participants. By the end of this session, you will have made an achievable action plan for yourself to use in the classes you TA.
- Sophie MacDonald, PhD Student, Department of Mathematics
- Tiera Naber, MSc Student, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Tuesday, Jan. 18 | 10:00 am – 11:30 am | Zoom
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.
- Shaya Golparian, PhD, Educational Developer: TA Development Programs
Tuesday, Jan. 18 | 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm | Zoom
Classrooms, like most social spaces, have complex and intertwining power dynamics. Some like the instructor-learner relationship may be more apparent while others- especially those stemming from facets of our identities such as race may be more “coded”. In this session, we will reflect on our own positionality in terms of race and culture and how this informs our role as TAs. We will discuss how we can identify and address barriers that learners may face in a classroom and we will design strategies to help make the classroom a safe space for learning.
- Sai Diwan, PhD Candidate, Asian Studies
Tuesday, Jan. 18 | 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Zoom
Do you give a presentation, or do you give a lecture? What’s the difference, and how can you make a choice based on what your audience and learners need? Join us for an in depth workshop focusing on developing and refining your skills for both presentations and lectures. We will also be working with a variety of virtual tools to help make your presentations and lectures impactful, effective, and memorable.
- Meaghan Efford, PhD Candidate, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries
Wednesday, Jan. 19 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm | Zoom
Have you ever wondered if something is actually working in your teaching or why students respond a certain way? In this session we’ll explore the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and how to connect your own experience as a researcher to collecting evidence of your own teaching practices. We will identify areas of interest to you and explore potential questions and research methods. This particular session is helpful to anyone considering doing a Teaching as Research project or being part of the Teaching Practicum.
- Natalie Westwood, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Science
Adapting the Classroom Environment for Flexible Teaching Models: Face-to-Face, Online and Hybrid Learning
Wednesday, Jan. 19 | 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm | Zoom
We’re in the midst of transition from online to in-person learning, which offers both a challenge and an opportunity for both TAs and students. It’s more important than ever to think about the format of our classroom, and consciously work toward creating a positive, supportive environment. This session will address the current need for flexibility in teaching across in person, online, and hybrid models, and prepare TAs to transition their teaching environment as necessary. Participants will share and reflect on their own learning experiences, and collaborate on how to establish effective teaching environments across these modes of instruction.
- Kelsey Wilson, PhD Student, Department of English Language & Literatures
- Charlotte Trainor, PhD Student, Department of Mathematics
Wednesday, Jan. 19 | 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm | Zoom
Are you struggling to balance the many tasks of being a Graduate Student and a Teaching Assistant? Has working online changed your workflow? Are you a procrastinator or someone just looking to learn and test out some new time management skills? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then 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 and those yet to come.
- Tiera Naber, MSc Student, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Thursday, Jan. 20 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm | Zoom
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: articulate the rationale for including a discussion in a lesson plan, align a specific discussion technique with the learning objective(s) of the lesson, and describe solutions to challenges that arise while leading discussions online.
- Cassandra Elphinstone, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Science
Thursday, Jan. 20 | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm | Zoom
In this session, participants will be introduced to a framework for understanding classroom climate and how this can support learning about Indigenous perspectives and knowledges. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about CTLT Indigenous Initiatives’ Classroom Climate TA Training program and be introduced to concepts covered and resources available for those supporting TA Training programs at UBC. Participants will leave with an ability to identify resources to support TAs in closer alignment with University priorities related to Indigenous engagement, and an understanding of the need to create supportive and productive spaces for learning Indigenous topics and discussing socially contentious issues.
- Janey Lew, Senior Educational Consultant, Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology Indigenous Initiatives
- Erin Yun, Educational Consultant, Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology Indigenous Initiatives
Thursday, Jan. 20 | 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Zoom
Being a TA is hard work. We’re in between our students and our instructors. Sometimes this is a comfortable place to be; sometimes it’s decided uncomfortable. Fortunately, our Collective Agreement (work contract) provides us with ample tools to make our work environment safe and enjoyable. Welcome to Your Union is an introductory session to all things TA union. In this session, we will cover some important topics to help make your life as a TA easier. These topics include:
- What even IS a union?
- What’s a collective agreement and how is it made?
- Building a good TA-Instructor working-relationship
- Key elements of your contract (hours of work, vacation, etc.)
We’ll give you a breakdown of the most important parts of your contract—the ones you’ll most likely engage with—and talk about strategies for handling tough scenarios with students and faculty. Already have questions? Great! Bring them with you. There will be ample time for questions and discussions.
- Gillian Glass, PhD Candidate, Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies
- Phyllis Pearson, PhD Candidate, Department of Philosophy
Friday, Jan. 21 | 10:00 am – 11:30 am | Zoom
Student engagement in an online classroom has been reported to be challenging for both the students and the instructors. However, given that some forms of online learning have shown to be effective, it looks like they are here to stay. So how do we design our teaching to maximize student engagement and balance the participatory elements of a lesson with the traditional style of lecturing? In this workshop, participants will be able to identify the engagement practices they have implemented or observed over the past months of online teaching and learning. Participants will also have the chance to compare and contrast the active learning offered by those engaging elements with the traditional didactic style of teaching. Lastly, they will get the opportunity to practice designing and modifying their own active learning strategies in the context of both online and in-person classrooms.
- Tala Maragha, PhD Student, Department of Oral Health Sciences
- Julie McNutt, PhD Candidate, Department of Chemistry
Friday, Jan. 21 | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm | Zoom
“Trauma never goes away”. Trauma is a pervasive human experience and one that can impact our students in the classroom and other learning environments. As TAs and instructors, we need to understand this context of trauma in order to best support our students. This session on trauma-informed teaching will teach you about trauma, how to recognize and respond to different trauma responses, and to consider what trauma-informed teaching might look like.
- Wanda Kehewin, MA Student, Faculty of Fine Arts; Trauma-Informed Advocate
- Andrea Johnson, PhD Candidate, School of Social Work
Friday, Jan. 21 | 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm | Zoom
In this session we will explore all aspects of assessment, from the basics required for you to excel in your position to deeper considerations of the role of assessment in student learning. As a Teaching Assistant, one of the most important parts of your role will include assessing students’ work fairly and supporting their learning with constructive feedback. These aspects of TAing also have a reputation for being some of the most time consuming, especially at first. To help flatten the learning curve, we’ll explore evidence-based techniques for marking to make the most of your limited hours, both online and in-person. You’ll leave with easy-to-implement strategies and tools to help you grade assignments and tests, give feedback, and design your own assessments.
- Nigel Deans, MScRes Student, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES)
- Katie Faulkner, PhD Student, Department of Mathematics