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TA Training & Development

The ECE TA Training and Development Program is an initiative that reflects the longstanding tradition of strong peer mentoring in the department. The program is led by a select cohort of TATD Fellows who lead teaching workshops and serve as a mentoring resource for ECE Teaching Assistants.

Requirements for ECE TAs:

ECE TAs are encouraged to contact their TATD Fellow Mentor throughout the semester with any questions or TA concerns. New TAs are required to meet with mentors at a mid-semester check-in. TAs are required to attend two workshops per semester.

Upcoming Spring 2018 Workshops

February 7: "Efficient and Effective Grading"
11:00 am; AV Williams 1146
Facilitated by Yangyi Yao and Austen San Nicolas

Fast and smart grading is paramount to student achievement and success; however, for TAs, it often consumes a great amount of time in order to be effective. While you grade, you may discover that your grading scheme is imperfect, often taking off too many points here, or being too lenient elsewhere. This workshop aims to provide veteran TAs a good opportunity to reflect on their own grading habits, and provide new TAs some real grading examples and tips to help harness their own grading skills. TAs attending have the option of bringing in assignments/quizzes that they have already graded, with student names excluded, for more interactive feedback.
Week of February 12: "Different Student Types and How to Tackle Them"
Facilitated by Soumya Indela
From my TA experience, I have seen students of various kinds like ambitious - who would love to do anything different from the regular curriculum, enthusiastic - who want to learn and gain something from the course, question banks - who ask questions even if they are unnecessary, lazy - who would not want to do anything at all, few other students who would do anything for marks, and many more. I would provide some tackling strategies from my experiences to satisfy all the kinds of students.
Week of February 26: "Time Management/Balancing Your Student, TA, and Research Responsibilities"
Facilitated by Meena Jagasivamani and Nadee Seneviratne
Week of March 5: "TAing a Course Without Sufficient Background"
Facilitated by Deepayan Bhadra
There are instances when students are assigned as TAs for a course which they haven't studied formally before. Needless to say, this can turn nightmarish if not tackled properly. In this workshop, we explore tips from students who have been there, done that. With sufficient planning and effort, such courses can be brought to fruition.
Week of March 12: "Labs: Saving Students from Stuffy Classrooms"
Facilitated by Andrew Risinger
Labs are a chance for students to interact with engineering in a way not possible in the classroom. We will discuss how to make labs more interesting, how to take advantage of the atypical learning environment, and how to effectively engage students. Come prepared for hands-on education!
Week of March 26: "What Makes a Good Lecture?"
Facilitated by Candace Walden
A brainstorming workshop on what things make a lecture beneficial to students. Issues like how to best present different types of information, if additional materials should be supplied, and class involvement will be discussed.
Week of April 2: "Approaching With a Plan/Discussion Preparation Based on an Audience-Focused Perspective"
Facilitated by Michael D'Antonio and Qiang Zhu
Week of April 16: "Making Discussion Sessions Attractive and Innovative"
Facilitated by Zeyu Zhang
Discussion sessions are probably the most important time for students to reinforce their understanding of the course materials. Traditional ways of teaching are relatively good and widely expected by students, but the truth is some students will eventually be distracted and lose interest after several classes. The time has come for us TAs to think about how to add a "cherry on top" to our discussion sessions to decorate them to be attractive and grasp students' interest throughout the semester, without the loss of acedemic depth. In this TATD session, I will introduce ways based on my research and also my own experience to help make your discussion sessions more interesting, and hopefully help you become a more popular TA among the students.

Past Workshops

Fall 2017

November 27: "Respect is the Foundation of Teaching"
2:00 pm; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Andrew Risinger

I believe that the central reason why I am an effective TA is because I respect my students. In this workshop, I hope to show some simple ways to respect students and improve connections.

November 14: "Some Tips About How to Prepare the Discussion"
1:00 pm; AV Williams 1146
Facilitated by Qiang Zhu

I want to narrow down the discussion range mainly on how to prepare the discussion session. I will touch on the follow topics: 1. Try to be familiar with the syllabus of your course. Make sure to discuss with instructor about the logic or the flow of the course. And be sure to get familiar with everything before the first discussion session. 2. Multimedia instills more fun to the discussion. But try to explain well how the content you show is connected or interacted with the stuff in the course.  3. Evaluate the levels of your audience. Try to adaptive tuning the difficulties of your content. 4. Feedback matters. 5. What kind of materials can stimulate your audience to ask questions. 6. Show some of my work during my TA time.

November 1: "How to Effectively Help the Students During a Lab Session"
11:00 am; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Yangyi Yao

Lab session usually requires the TA frequently interact with the students, and as the size of the labs differs, the workload differs. During the workshop, I'll share my experience of how to  lead and guide the students effectively during the lab section considering the case of small group lab and big group lab, I will also provide some useful tips to the rookie TAs who will conduct a lab session as their first TA job. We will also discuss the issues that may happened during the labs, such as the malfunction of the apparatus, conflicts between students, and how to troubleshoot these potential problems in an effective way.

October 26: "Being a Proactive Teaching Assistant/To Be or Not to Be (a TA)?"
12:00 pm; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Meenatchi Jagasivamani and Deepayan Bhadra

Friday, October 20: "Different Student Types and How to Tackle Them"
1:00 pm; AV Williams 1146
Facilitated by Soumya Indela

From my TA experience, I have seen students of various kinds like ambitious - who would love to do anything different from the regular curriculum, enthusiastic - who want to learn and gain something from the course, question banks - who ask questions even if they are unnecessary, lazy - who would not want to do anything at all, few other students who would do anything for marks, and many more. I would provide some tackling strategies from my experiences to satisfy all the kinds of students.

October 2: "Developing/Molding an Appropriate Teaching Style"
11:00 am; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Austen San Nicolas

TAs may find their teaching styles to be effective in many circumstances; however, courses often fluctuate between professors, so being able to adapt is crucial to better aid students. In this workshop, a variety of tips and tricks will be presented to help TA's understand their own teaching styles, and how to form it into one that meets the current demand from students. A short discussion will then take place to address any questions/concerns.

September 28: "Effective Interaction Between TAs and Different Student Personalities"
10:00 am; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Nadee Seneviratne and Zeyu Zhang

Discussion session is a precious time for students to review contents of the week and practice sample problems. It is very likely that students will mostly depend on their TA to clarify their doubts regarding the subject matters. At the same time, their expectations during the discussion sessions will vary from student to student. It is important to strike a balance while catering to their expectations so that a majority of the class will be benefited. Besides, by keeping a good interaction with students will let them release the pressure and get truly involved in learning. During the workshop, we will discuss different types of students and situations we might have to deal with as TAs. Furthermore, several good forms of interaction will also be discussed, not only in discussion sessions but also during offline periods, such as office hour, before or after discussions, emails, etc.

September 22: "Maximizing the Limiting Resource in the Lab: You"
3:00 pm; AV Williams 1146
Facilitated by Paul Watrobski

Often times, TAs are the most requested resource in the lab.  You may be the only one, or one of a few people to assist students.  Therefore, it’s important to maximize your ability to help as many students through their different problems.  It is also important to make sure that your students get the most out of the lab, becoming self-sufficient in figuring out their own bugs.  In this workshop, we will discuss ways to engage students in a way that helps lead them down the path of determining and resolving solutions to their own problems, with minimal direction on your part, and maximum learning on theirs.

September 14: "Discussion Sections - Approaching with a Plan"
11:00 am; AV Williams 1146
Facilitated by Michael D'Antonio

This TATD workshop will talk about structuring your 50 minute discussion section, and the importance of catering your discussion section delivery to the needs and learning styles of the students. I will talk about the topics that should be addressed during the discussion section, the importance of the opening, effectively delivering example problems, and how to communicate with your students to ensure that your teaching style is effective to their needs.

Spring 2017

April 27: "Effective Grading"
11:00am; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Abdulrahman Baknina

Grading is an essential part of being a TA. We have a lot of things to grade: homework, quizzes, lab reports, exams, etc. In this workshop, we will discuss what is the best way to grade them, and how to grade effectively and efficiently—to encourage students to learn but not to cost ourselves too much time.

May 3: "Community Event #2"
Q&A with Professor Bruce Jacob; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Daniel Gerzhoy

April 14: "TA Table Topics"
Facilitated by Candace Walden

This workshop is focused around getting knowledge from your fellow TAs and having time to discuss different aspects of being a TA. There will be a set of predefined topics to generate discussion: such as difficult or inspiring students, things you felt you innovated. There will also be a call at the beginning of the workshop for the participants to write their own topic they're interested in.

April 6: "Solution Manual: Working Effectively with Instructors of Different Styles"
Facilitated by Wei Bai

Instructors have a variety of styles, even if they teach the same course. Each instructor has his/her own teaching style, requirements for recitations/labs, grading criterion, office hour specification, etc. In this workshop, I would like to provide a “solution manual” for TAs, for how to work effectively with instructors of different styles. I hope that current and future TAs could benefit from this presentation by getting familiar with and then getting prepared for possible instructor styles.

March 14: "Community Event #1"
Facilitated by Ahmed Arafa

March 8 "Importance of Effective Communication in TA-ships"
Facilitated by Vidya Raju

One possible reservation TAs face is the possibility that the workload takes away from their time for research and coursework (dealt with in the last TATD workshop). I would like to address the role of communication - whether with professors, students or peers - in performing one's TA duties. I would also like to highlight how teaching might influence one's own perspective on research and career goals. I hope to leave the audience with some ideas on how to have the teaching experience be motivational and the role of effective communication that can leave the TA with a significantly positive experience.

March 3: "Playing the Most Efficient Role: Holding the Discussion"
Facilitated by Qiang Zhu

To achieve our objective of discussion session, we need to better tune our teaching system in a clever way. With the emphasis on teaching efficiency, I will talk about how to make the best of 50mins discussion to save the student’s time and effort learning the course from my personal experiences and invite you to share your experiences also. I hope more clever ideas and strategies will emerge with the lead of my discussion.

February 22: "Utilizing Technology in the Lab and Lecture"
Facilitated by Justine Stine and Zeyu Zhang

The teaching assistantship is an old and traditional position. The contents and responsibilities have changed very little over the years, and so have the techniques used to teach. However, these methods may not be sufficient for a newer generation of students. With the development of modern technology, can we adapt our current approaches and allow them to collide and sparkle with tradition? The answer is yes and the options are vast. The objective of this workshop is to provide participants valuable insights into the various ways of communication, teaching, grading, and use of simulation tools that adopt the merit of “cool” technology. We believe that these potential tricks will not only help students learn better but also let you, the TA, be more efficient.

February 16: "How to Enjoy Being a TA"
Facilitated by Peiwen He

Being a TA is an exciting experience. It is a great opportunity for us to communicate with students and be a bridge between them and the faculty. However, working as a TA sometimes is boring, especially when you teach the same course again and again. In this workshop, we will discuss how to enjoy being a TA while working as a TA. It will also be a good opportunity to share your stories and experiences to help improve our teaching skills and make us better TAs.

February 7: "Effectively Conducting a Lab Session"
Facilitated by Yumeng Cui

Serving as a lab teaching assistant, playing the role between the professor and students can be very challenging.  How to effectively organize the 3-hour section, and hence have the class learn as much as possible during the time truly depends on the TA's input.  In this workshop we will simulate common problems encountered in a lab, discuss best problem solving strategies, and simulate small lab scenarios.

Fall 2016

November 8: "Effective Time Management as a TA"
Facilitated by Vidya Raju and Zeyu Zhang

Being a teaching assistant is an exciting and fruitful experience for graduate students. However, giving discussions, grading homeworks, and attending lectures is without doubt a time consuming task. Effectively scheduling your TA duties can not only help you efficiently complete all the TA responsibilities, but also focus more on your research and course work. In this workshop, we will share strategies from our experiences about two aspects of time management: as a TA and as a graduate student.

November 3: "Using Past Experiences to Their Fullest"
Facilitated by Dan Gerzhoy and Peiwen He

TAs come from many different backgrounds, including different countries, different academic environments, and industry. These backgrounds provide differing levels of knowledge in material taught, and teaching style. This workshop will examine the strengths and weaknesses of the different backgrounds, and explore ways the TA can efficiently and effectively fill gaps in their knowledge and help their students to learn.

October 21: "How to Get Students to Talk in Class"
Facilitated by Ahmed Arafa

Getting students to talk during discussion/lab sessions is of great importance. It lets them express their concerns so that the TA would cover more points in his/her illustration. However, it is generally not easy to make students talk or speak up their minds during class (most will come with questions after class). In this workshop we discuss some ideas into how to alleviate this problem and encourage students to engage more actively in class.

October 27: "Fine Tuning to Become a Better TA"
Facilitated by Manasij Venkatesh

A TA plays an important role in aiding a student's understanding. Apart from being the first contact point to clarify doubts, a TA can be influential in motivating a student. It is essential to realize this responsibility and constantly try to be a better TA. Often, small details go a long way in improving your abilities. In the workshop, I'll discuss what I think are qualities that some of my great teachers and TAs had.

October 6: "Independent and Cooperative Learning"
Facilitated by Qiang Zhu

While working as a TA, questions like, "Should I make decisions without letting my professor know?" "Is it okay if I keep my own style of teaching?" and "Is my job just to make the professor and students happy?" will arise.  I'll talk about such concerns from my personal experience addressing the topic 'independent or cooperative teaching.

September 28 "Delivering an Effective Lecture"
Facilitated by Abdulrahman Baknina

Recitation plays an important role in the education process, specially for undergraduate courses.
The goal of a recitation includes reviewing the lectures, solving problems and reviewing the material before exams. Different students have different expectations for the recitation session. Also, each student has his/her own speed/method of perceiving the presented material. As a result, delivering an effective one hour recitation can be quite challenging. In this workshop, we will discuss several approaches to deliver an effective recitation.

September 22: "Community Event #1"
3:30pm; AV Williams 2460

September 8: "Expect the Unexpected: Adjusting Myself as a First-Time TA"
Facilitated by Wei Bei

Being a teaching assistant (TA) is very exciting and important for TAs, especially the first-time TAs. However, most of these new TAs don't have teaching experience. Many new TAs are new graduate students as well. They have to balance their coursework, teaching and research. This is even more challenging for foreign TAs, especially for whom English is not their mother tongue. In this workshop, we would like to give some suggestions to the new TAs helping them to adjust to this new environment, and be more comfortable as a TA.

September 14: "Challenges in Lab / Effectively Managing a Lab Session"
Facilitated by Yumeng Cui and Candace Walden

In this workshop we will mainly focus on developing effective in-lab management skills. Is making a lecture in the lab helpful? How to present your idea to the students? Shall we spend the entire 3-hour session working with students? Through group discussions and ideas from the speakers, we will be challenged by real scenarios that are commonly seen in a lab session. Different ways to help with debugging will be reviewed. Inputs from the audience are welcomed.

Spring 2016

April 19: "How to Make the Most of Your Teaching Experience"
Facilitated by Ahmed ElShaarany

Sometimes we can get caught it in teaching that we forget how teaching can affect our daily lives. In this workshop, we will try to focus on how we can use our teaching experience in different aspects of life. It will also be a good opportunity for the participants to share stories and experiences where they applied something they learned from teaching.

April 13: "To Solve or Not to Solve!"
Facilitated by Sina Miran

​ If you're in charge of holding recitations as a TA, and you don't have a fixed set of problems to follow, probably your biggest weekly challenge would be to prepare a set of problems together with their solutions for your recitation. However, you only have an hour of time in recitation and lots of sources for finding problems! So which ones to choose then!? The same issue applies to office hours as you might have to solve problems for students reaching out to you there! However, there are some differences between office hours and recitations. In this workshop, I will present some guidelines I followed while TAing this past year for choosing problems for recitations, presenting their solutions in recitations, and addressing students' questions in office hours. Hopefully, these will be useful to you as well.​

April 7: "Delivering an Effective Lecture in Diverse Learning Environments / Bridging the Cultural Gap Between TA and Students"
Facilitated by Abhijit Valluri and Saurabh Sahu

TAs are a key part of the education system in the US. International TAs may be unaccustomed to how classes in US are conducted and how students behave with them. Cultural variations influence the student behavior both inside and outside the classroom, especially when you are interacting during office hours and lab sessions. To be an effective TA, one needs to understand what motivates students in the class/lab, which is very challenging. How can we ensure that students pay the same amount of attention in recitations/lab sessions as they do at your office hours? In this workshop, we will highlight the challenges that may arise due to various cultures and what strategies a TA can follow to deliver an effective lecture and make the classroom a better learning environment. We will discuss different learning styles in general, discuss the differences in the lab/recitation/office hour settings and explore ways to leverage these differences to teach effectively.

April 1: "Mediating Between Students and Instructors"
Facilitated by Dan Goldman

In this workshop we will explore the role of a TA as a mediator between the students and the instructor(s) of a course. What role does a TA have in the eyes of the students? What about in the eyes of the instructor? How does a TA address conflicts, issues, and relay information between these two distinct groups in a course? These are a few of the many questions we will attempt to address in this workshop.

March 22: "Encouraging Critical Thinking at Classroom and in Problem Sessions"
Facilitated by Nil Gurel

​ Critical thinking is a core ability to come to a judgment in all disciplines. It is an active, self-assessing and self-correcting mechanism that helps the student prevent from making impulsive and spontaneous judgments. It is one of the main goals for a lecturer to encourage and improve the student's critical thinking abilities on the subject conveyed. This workshop will mention the ways and approaches a teaching assistant can use to encourage critical thinking at classroom and in problem sessions.

March 11: "Effective Grading"
Facilitated by Abdulrahman Baknina and Yuntao Liu

​ Grading is an essential part of being a TA. We have a lot of things to grade: homework, quizzes, lab reports, exams, etc. In this workshop, we will discuss what is the best way to grade them, and how to grade effectively and efficiently—to encourage students to learn but not to cost ourselves too much time.

February 24: "Transition: TAing Another Type of Course (Lab/Lecture)"
Facilitated by Sheng Cheng

Many TAs may have done a good job for the past semester while being assigned a different type of course (Lab/Lecture) this semester. This could be a challenge for TAs as these two types require different workload and preparation. During the workshop, we will compare the difference between TAing these two types of courses. We will also discuss how we can utilize what we know previously about TAing a course to help ourselves in TAing another type of course.

February 19: "Preparing for and Conducting Laboratory Sessions"
Facilitated by Bathiya Senevirathna

Running a laboratory session is rather different from presenting lectures or discussions. Lab sessions are generally predefined by instructors but TAs are given a lot of responsibility in ensuring that students get the most out of the labs. In this workshop we will discuss how TAs can prepare for lab sessions, how to conduct the labs, and how to help students get the most out of their time. We will also take a look at common issues we may run into during lab sessions, and find ways to tackle them.

February 12: "Making Office Hours Not Ours"
Facilitated by Alborz Alavian

Office hours could be a useful resource for students to elaborate more on the topics that are briefly addressed during lecture time but are also important during course evaluation procedures. This time can also be a useful resource for TAs to have a better perspective of what materials could need more attention and how adjusted are homework levels to the presented knowledge. However, there is an unwritten, but mutually known fact that the presence and productivity expectation are low. In this workshop, we aim to take a second look on some ways to increase presence and productivity, and provide some practical strategies on how to manage office hours in a way that could be beneficial for many of the students.

February 4: "What does the TA responsibility mean to you? A key player in the teaching cycle long ignored"
Facilitated by Zhung-Han Wu

We talked a lot about how to do an excellent TA work focusing on the students’ needs in several workshops. However, we seldom mention what an excellent TA work could mean to TA ourselves. What can you gain from the TA responsibility other than the paycheck? In this workshop, we will discuss about the meaning of TA responsibility to TA themselves from different aspects.

Fall 2015

Monday, November 16: "Presentation / Instruction Techniques"
Facilitated by Nil Gurl

Communicating clearly and effectively is a must-have skill for every field, crucial to especially teaching. Preparing a presentation can be a daunting prospect, since delivering a captivating presentation to get your message across requires a lot of preparation and work. Many people in engineering fields feel terrified when they are asked to do an oral presentation, but these initial fears can be reduced by good preparation and practice. This workshop aims to help about mastering speaking stress, organizing the presentation, platform skills, using audiovisual aids and audience psychology.

Friday, November 13: "Teaching Beyond the Lab Itself"
Facilitated by Yuntao Liu

Lab courses are designed not only to train the students’ practical skills in doing experiments, but also to enhance their theoretical knowledge on which the experiments are based. However, in reality, many students do nothing more than follow the step-by-step instructions of the lab manual. As instructors seldom go to the lab, the lab TAs are the only people who can build a bridge across the gap of theory and practice for the students. In this workshop, we will discuss how to observe the deficiencies of the student's knowledge and help them understand the knowledge and lab comprehensively in an efficient way.

Tuesday, November 3: "Student - Faculty - TA Relationships"
Facilitated by Ahmed ElShaarany

A TA holds an intermediate status between faculty and students. In other words, the TA is the middle man that facilitates the flow of information from faculty to students, and at the same time, ensure the students’ feedback is adequately delivered to the faculty. Dealing with these tasks can sometimes be tricky and it requires careful handling. In this workshop, we will talk about the different issues that face the TA as a middle man and discuss different situations TAs faced.

Wednesday, October 28: "Again?! - Teaching the Same Class More Than Once"
Facilitated by Daniel Goldman

Whether you are filling out your TA preferences for next semester or currently teaching a course you have taught before, it is common for TA's to wind up teaching the same class more than once.  What would you do in a situation where you are teaching a course for the second or third time?  What strategies might be helpful in addressing challenges or potential benefits you might face as a repeating TA for a class?  This workshop will focus on personal experiences, situations that might arise, and strategies to succeed as a TA who is teaching a class more than once, as well as aiding with choosing courses to teach for next semester.

Thursday, October 22: "Adapting Your Teaching to the Diverse Learning Styles of Students"
Facilitated by Abhijit Valluri

Understanding what motivates students in your class is very challenging, yet this is important to be an effective TA and to guide your students successfully. We often observe that students crowd during office hours before midterms or homework deadlines. How can you make them pay the same amount of attention in all your recitations or labs? In this workshop, we will talk about the different learning styles of students in general, and discuss the pros and cons of the lab, recitation and office hour environments. We will explore some teaching techniques that can help you teach more effectively in these different environments.

Thursday, October 15: "Feedback – How to Solicit, Interpret and React to It"
Facilitated by Zhung-Han Wu

Feedback is an essential part in a successful teaching and learning experience. The constant receiving and reacting to feedback foster the learning cycle. In this workshop, we will discuss ways to solicit different kinds of feedback, to interpret the feedback, and to react to feedback.

Wednesday, September 30: "Early Addressing of Exam Concerns"
Facilitated by Alborz Alavian

In this workshop we aim to inspect the ways by which TAs could address student concerns regarding the upcoming exams from early in the semester. Students are known to form their perspective about the upcoming exams from beginning of the semester, and even before that by choosing which courses to attend to. However, usually there would be no discussion of the exams until some few sessions before it. We will try to gain a better understanding of this concern from different perspectives, and try to probe some strategies that could be used to better address these concern from student perspectives. We aim to take advantage of our collective experience in having such courses to build strategies that could be used during the course by a teacher assistant.

Friday, September 25: "How to Encourage Student Participation and Break the Awkward Silence in the Classroom"
Facilitated by Bathiya Senevirathna and Sina Miran

You ask a question during class, a fairly straightforward review question, but none of your students respond. Everyone just keeps their head down and desperately tries to avoid eye contact with you. This is a situation almost all TAs have faced and can be quite disheartening. In this workshop we aim to find ways to break the silence in the classroom, to know how to ask the right questions, and to help find ways to create an active environment that will increase student-TA interaction. This is important not only because it is part of students’ learning process, but is also very useful as a teaching tool for you as a TA.

Friday, September 18: "Delivering an Effective Lecture / Bridging the Culture Gap Between TA and Students"
Facilitated by Abdulrahman Baknin and Saurabh Sahu

Teaching assistants (TAs) are a key part of the education system. Usually, international TAs may might feel awkward at first from the way classrooms in the US are conducted and how students respond/behave with them. This may require one to understand specific cultural variations which may influence the students perception/behavior inside and outside the classroom, especially when you are interacting during office hours and lab sessions. In this workshop, we will highlight the challenges that may arise due to various cultures and what strategies a TA can follow to deliver an effective lecture and make the classroom a better learning environment.

Wednesday, September 9: "Guidance for Students and TA when TAing a Lab Course"
Facilitated by Sheng Cheng

Experiments play an important role in applying theory to practice. Thus we have our students conduct experiments in a lab, in order to help them learn practical skills while reviewing the theories learned previously. However, a 3-hour lab session can be full of mess if our TA is not well prepared, since problems and bugs will definitely come to students in an experiment. During the workshop, we will discuss the basic requirements for a lab TA to meet the goal of teaching in a lab. Besides, some useful suggestions will be given to help lab TA conduct the lab session more effectively.

Spring 2015

Thursday, April 23: "TA-ing a Course for the 2nd or 3rd Time"
Facilitated by Bhaskar Ramasubramanian

In this department, it is not uncommon for a TA to be assigned to a particular course more than once. This workshop will try to address potential advantages and disadvantages of being in such a situation. Participating TAs will be asked to share their views on the same with the aim of making the session as interactive as possible. The workshop will also be particularly relevant to TAs who will be filling in their choices of courses for the next semester.

Wednesday, April 15: "Teaching Students According to their Individuality"
Facilitated by Ren Mao

Different students have different backgrounds, objectives and aptitudes for studying the course material. A good way for TA to guide students learn well is teaching students in accordance with their individuality, especially when you are answering individual’s questions in office hour or lab session. In this workshop, we will discuss how to observe and analyze the characteristics of students’ learning, how to match students’ learning style, and how to guide students to find their learning strategies.

Thursday, April 9: "The Importance of Student Participation in the Classroom"
Facilitated by Alborz Alavian

All of us remember moments when our contributions in class helped shaped some part of the lecture. Student involvement is an important part of learning - indeed, it can help them understand and retain high-level concepts. In this workshop, we will offer different methods – direct and indirect – that can be used to encourage participation and keep students involved in the course material. We will discuss how and when participation can make this goal achievable.

Thursday, April 2: "To be in the Students’ Shoes – Identify and Mitigate the Gap between TA and Students"
Facilitated by Zhung-Han Wu

Recitation sessions play an important role in a successful teaching and learning experience. Experienced TAs go through sample problems and review essential concepts so that students can get a clearer picture of the topic. However, the knowledge gap between the experienced TA and students is sometimes overlooked during the recitation session. As a result, a TA might sometimes skip some topics that the students are not adept at and slow down the learning process. In this workshop, we will discuss ways to identify the gap between the TA and the students and provide ways to mitigate the gap.

Friday, March 27: "Preparing for and Conducting Laboratory Sections"
Facilitated by Po-Chun Huang and Bathiya Senevirathna

Students are excited about applying theory into practice in the lab and they may run into different levels of difficulties in their experiments. One of the most important missions of a lab class TA is to customize the learning experience of each student.  However, teaching a lab course has particular challenges different from those in a standard discussion class. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies for preparing an effective learning environment to help students get the most out of laboratory classes.

Tuesday, March 10: "Bridging the Cultural Gap Between TAs and Students"
Facilitated by Sohil Shah and Saurabh Sahu

Teaching assistants are a key part of the education system. Many times students feel more comfortable interacting with their TA’s rather than the professor. As most TAs are international students, they might feel awkward at first the way American classrooms are conducted and how students respond/behave with them. This may require one to understand specific cultural variations which may influence the students perception/behavior inside and outside the classroom, especially when you are interacting during office hours and lab sessions. In this workshop, we will highlight the difference in educational norms across various cultures and what strategies we as a TA can follow so that the classroom becomes a better learning environment.

Tuesday, February 24: "Time Management: Finding Time When There Isn't Enough"
Facilitated by Jeff Casarona

Many new graduate students are shocked into increased levels of work and commitments required from the people around them. Juggling class, work, research, TA responsibilities, and general everyday life may be daunting to those who are not able to manage the most valuable commodity any one person can have: time. This talk will address tips, tricks, and techniques to identify, quantify, and address your ability to find time when you think there just isn't enough, and how to spend time in efficient and effective ways.

Wednesday, February 18: "The TA-Instructor Relationship"
Facilitated by Long Nguyen

In order to carry out their duty efficiently, teaching assistants have to overcome various challenges. Although these often come from the course material or the students, it is not rare to see TAs being stressed out from the dynamic between them and the instructors. This workshop attempts to explore the TA-instructor relationship by facilitating a discussion ground, with the aim of solving existing and potential problems between the parties.

Thursday, February 12: "Using Classroom Tools for Effective Discussion Sessions"
Facilitated by Devanarayanan Ettisserry and Abhijit Valluri

Tailoring your discussions in view of the diversity in learning styles and personalities of students will help you in reaching out to them more effectively. One way of doing this is to use technology in the classroom to make classes more fun and engaging. Nowadays, there are a variety of resources on the web that we can tap into to improve the classroom experience. For instance, there is a growing number of YouTube channels and videos tailored to teach students and interested individuals important concepts in a visually engaging way, using graphics and illustrations, as well as narration. This can help students who learn by seeing or listening. Other resources such as Coursera offer lectures and quizzes on various topics. One can also tap into online tutorials to setup real-life experiments, demonstrations or simulations on the computer to engage the students. We shall discuss effective utilization of technology to improve the classroom learning experience.