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Fall 2015 Teaching Assistant Orientation

Advance registration is now closed.

See the Registration Information below for details about walk-in registration.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
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 - Matthew Streb (Department of Political Science)
9:30 am   Preparing to Teach & Managing Your Classroom Effectively - Sarah Klaper (Office of the Ombudsperson)
10:00 am   Morning Break
10:10 am   Title IX Awareness
Assisting Students with Emotional/Behavioral Concerns
    Reducing Barriers for Students with Disabilities
    Handling Academic Misconduct and Disruptive Students
11:20 am   Teaching Across the Disciplines - TA Panel
11:50 am   Lunch in the Blackhawk Cafeteria (Menu)
1:00 pm   Breakout Session A - choose one of the sessions below
2:00 pm    Break
2:15 pm   Breakout Session B - choose one of the sessions below
BREAKOUT SESSION A (First Come, First Serve)*

1:00 pm

  Providing Teaching-Related Support, Heritage Room
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.

   
    Using Library Resources for Teaching and Research, Illinois Room
Leanne VandeCreek and Wayne Finley, 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 Wayne Finley 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.

   
    Teaching Strategies for Engaging Students, Room 305
Jenny Parker, Associate Vice Provost for Educator Licensure Preparation

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, Jenny Parker, Associate Vice Provost for Educator Licensure & Preparation, and recipient of NIU’s Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, will share a variety of strategies to promote student engagement in your classes.

   
    Teaching with Technology, Room 306
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 Your Time, Room 405
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.

BREAKOUT SESSION B (First Come, First Serve)*
2:15 pm Managing and Connecting with Students in Large Classes, Heritage Room (2nd Floor)
Greg Long, Allied Health and Communicative Diseases

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. Presidential Teaching Professor Greg Long 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.

   
    Using Grading Strategies to Promote Student Learning, Illinois Room (2nd Floor)
Stephen Wallace, 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, Steve Wallace, Associate Director of the Office of Assessment Services, 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.

   
    Presenting/Communicating Effectively, Room 305
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.

   
    Teaching with Technology, Room 306
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.

   
    Finding Your Teaching Style, Room 405
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.

   
3:30 pm   Evaluation and Closing at Individual Breakout Sessions


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 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.

You may still attend the Teaching Assistant Orientation by registering in person on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center. Registration will start promptly at 8:00 am.

Please note that lunch ticket and materials will be provided to walk-in registrants on a first-come, first-served basis and may not be available for all walk-ins.

After registering, if you are unable to attend, please cancel your registration at http://facdev.niu.edu/myprograms by Tuesday, August 18, 2015.

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

Last Updated: 8/19/2015