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Fall 2016 Teaching Assistant Orientation

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
8:00 am to 3:30 pm
Duke Ellington Ballroom, Holmes Student Center

Overview

At this orientation, graduate teaching assistants will learn the basic principles of teaching and related responsibilities, gather information about campus support resources, and network with other GAs, faculty, and resource staff. While it is designed for new graduate assistants, continuing graduate assistants will also benefit from the orientation. The day's sessions are presented by NIU faculty, staff, and administrators who are knowledgeable and experienced in the topics.

Below is the tentative agenda

Orientation Schedule

GENERAL SESSIONS
8:00 am   Check-In and Refreshments  
8:30 am   Welcome and Overview - Bradley Bond, Associate Vice-President for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate School  
8:45 am   Understanding Your Role as a Teaching Assistant - Jenny Parker, Associate Vice Provost for Educator Licensure & Preparation
9:30 am   Preparing to Teach & Managing Your Classroom Effectively - Kristina Wilkerson, Office of the Ombudsperson
10:00 am   Morning Break  
10:10 am   Assisting Students with Emotional/Behavioral Concerns - Tim Paquette, Counseling & Consultation Services
Reducing Barriers for Students with Disabilities - Debra Miller, Disability Resource Center
    Handling Academic Misconduct and Disruptive Students - Brian Glick, Student Conduct
    Title IX Awareness - Rose Henton, Affirmative Action and Equity Compliance
11:20 am   Teaching Across the Disciplines - TA Panel  
11:50 am   Lunch in the Blackhawk Cafeteria  
1:00 pm   Breakout Session A - choose one of the sessions below  
2:00 pm    Afternoon Break  
2:15 pm   Breakout Session B - choose one of the sessions below  
3:30 pm   Wrap-up and Closing at Individual Breakout Sessions  
 
BREAKOUT SESSION A (First Come, First Serve)

1:00 pm

 

Teaching with Technology, Ellington's (1st floor)
Peter Gowen, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center

A wide assortment of instructional technologies are available that will not only enhance the learning experience for your students but also save you time. But what technologies fit best into your teaching? This hands-on session is an introduction to technologies for teaching, including the Blackboard Learn learning management system. You will learn the difference between your A-ID and Z-ID, how to access your staff email, and how to use Blackboard as a TA, such as posting and organizing content and basics of the Grade Center.

   
   

Providing Teaching-Related Support, Room 305
Jim Horn, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Many graduate assistants may not deliver instruction but provide a variety of teaching-related support in and outside the classroom. This may include conducting lab sessions, grading, tutoring, leading recitations, conducting office hours, and assisting their faculty supervisors and students in many other ways on teaching and learning-related issues. In this session, Jim Horn, Professor and NIU's Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award winner, will offer tips and techniques for fulfilling the diverse tasks required of non-teaching GAs, but any TAs or GAs interested in the session can attend.

   
 
   

Teaching Strategies for Engaging Students, Room 405
Matt Streb, Department of Political Science

Students learn best when they are actively engaged in their own learning. Yet creating an environment to encourage student engagement can often seem challenging for both new and experienced teachers. In this session, Matt Streb will share a variety of strategies to promote student engagement in your classes.

   
 
    Managing Your Time, Room 505
Lesley Gilbert, Human Resource Services

Do you always feel pressure in balancing your teaching assistant responsibilities and your student responsibilities? This session will focus on techniques and principles of managing your time wisely. Participants will discuss case scenarios and participate in a brainstorming session to deal with resolving issues that hinder managing time effectively.

   
 
   

Research Right! A Library Refresher, Room 506
Leanne VandeCreek and Larissa Garcia, University Libraries

The University Libraries contains over 2 million print volumes, 200+ research databases, and access to more than 40,000 electronic journals. Perhaps the greatest resources for graduate Teaching Assistants are the Librarian Subject Specialists and reference services. In this breakout session, Leanne VandeCreek and Larissa Garcia will share strategies and techniques for getting the most out of library services. Working with resources from their own discipline, participants will learn concrete searching and access strategies they can implement, and share with their students.

 
BREAKOUT SESSION B (First Come, First Serve)
2:15 pm

Teaching with Technology, Ellington's (1st floor)
Peter Gowen, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center

A wide assortment of instructional technologies are available that will not only enhance the learning experience for your students but also save you time. But what technologies fit best into your teaching? This hands-on session is an introduction to technologies for teaching, including the Blackboard Learn learning management system. You will learn the difference between your A-ID and Z-ID, how to access your staff email, and how to use Blackboard as a TA, such as posting and organizing content and basics of the Grade Center.

   
 
   

Managing and Connecting with Students in Large Classes, Room 305
Courtney Gallaher, Department of Geography / Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Teaching large classes effectively requires a set of different strategies and methods than teaching smaller classes. Through careful planning, large classes can be an exciting teaching and learning experience for the instructor and the students. Courtney Gallaher will present a number of ways to manage tasks, distractions, passive students, and class activities. Come prepared to share and learn ways to be effective when teaching and engaging students in the large classroom setting.

   
 
    Presenting/Communicating Effectively, Room 405
Judy Santacaterina, Bachelor of General Studies Baccalaureate Degree Program

Communication behaviors, both verbal and non-verbal, generally support the declared learning objectives and facilitate student comprehension. However, often without being aware of it, instructors use communication behaviors that can undermine the learning objectives. In this session, Judy Santacaterina, will share strategies for communicating effectively in the classroom and help TAs to become aware of the communication strategies they use.

   
 
    Finding Your Teaching Style, Room 505
Janet Giesen, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center

How would you describe yourself as an instructor? Better yet, how would you "pitch" yourself or your course? Taking the time to think about who you are and how you teach can have a powerful impact on yourself and your students. In this session, Janet Giesen, Instructional Design Coordinator for the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, will discuss how to define yourself as an instructor, provide strategies for reflecting on and developing your teaching practice, and guide you in discovering your teaching style. NOTE: This is an advanced topic and is intended for returning or experienced TAs.

   
 
   

Using Grading Strategies to Promote Student Learning, Room 506
Chris Parker, Office of Assessment Services

Q: What word comes to mind when you think of assessment, grading, and statistics? A: Fear? Anxiety? Dread? Well let's change that. In this one-hour session, Chris Parker, Vice Provost for Academic Outcomes Assessment, will share successful tips and strategies that can transform traditional grading and feedback into something that is inspirational. Whether you will provide grading support, teach a course, tutor, run a lab or studio, you will inevitably need to evaluate students and provide feedback. Learn how to do this in effective and efficient ways, which can be empowering for you and your students.

       


Registration Information

This orientation is open to all graduate teaching assistants, research assistants, and staff assistants at NIU. The orientation is designed for new graduate assistants, but continuing graduate assistants are welcome to attend. The sessions cover general teaching and teaching-related responsibilities which are applicable to all disciplines; individual departments may provide more detailed discipline-specific training. The Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center does not require graduate teaching assistants to attend the Teaching Assistant Orientation, but individual departments may require their graduate assistants to attend. Please check with your department about participation requirements. Advance registration is now closed.

Advanced Registration Deadline: Friday, August 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm

Registered participants will receive orientation materials, refreshments, lunch, and a certificate of participation. Due to the expensive nature of the orientation, limited seats available, and advance notice required for arrangements, please register by the deadline and attend the entire orientation. A certificate of participation will only be awarded for attending the entire orientation.

The registration confirmation will be sent to your NIU email account, either your employee A-ID or student Z-ID email (whichever you use to register). If you do not know your ID or password, review this Help page on IDs and Passwords for more information. If you do not have an ID and password, and you have tried to look it up, email tadev@niu.edu to register. After submitting your registration, if you do not receive a response within 2 working days, please contact the Center at tadev@niu.edu

After registering, if you are unable to attend, please cancel your registration at facdev.niu.edu/myprograms by Monday, August 15, 2016.

Questions? View our FAQ or click on one of the most common questions below.

Advance registration is now closed.

Last Updated: 8/17/2016