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 Workshops

Fall 2021
October 20: "How to Prepare Students and Ourselves for the Transition to In-person Classes?"
Time/location: 12:00 pm/1146 A.V. Williams
Facilitated by Matin Mortaheb

As students, faculties, and TAs acclimate to shifting in-person classes, many will struggle with changes in routine and the loss of whatever daily online habits they had settled into during distance learning. Some students can even feel like they are experiencing withdrawals from their digital lives. In this workshop, I will introduce several useful methods which may help you as a teaching assistant to adjust yourself to the in-person teaching methods while at the same time getting benefit of what we had designed for virtual setting, and also to help you to motivate your students to do this transition better.

October 26: "Making Good Use of Office Hours and the Virtual Discussion"
Time/location: 12:00 pm/ Zoom
Facilitated by Wei-Hsiang Wang

Regular office hours can not be sufficient for all of the students. They may have time conflict or they do not even start to do the homework by your office hours. Most of the questions come one day before the deadline via emails. Sometimes it is difficult to answer questions simply using email, and may lead to time consuming while you cannot always set up a zoom meeting to discuss with them. In this workshop, I aim to discuss some issues I had before and give some tips.

Week of November 1: "Strategies for Motivating Students"
Time/location: TBD
Facilitated by Fatemeh Alimardani

The best lessons, books, and materials in the world won’t get students excited about learning and willing to work hard if they’re not motivated. Motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, is a key factor in the success of students at all stages of their education, and TAs can play a pivotal role in providing and encouraging that motivation in students. Of course, that’s easier said than done, as all students are motivated differently and it takes time and a lot of effort to learn to get a classroom full of students enthusiastic about learning, working hard, and pushing themselves to excel. Even the most well-intentioned and educated TAs sometimes lack the skills to keep students on track, so whether you’re a new TA or an experienced one, we will see how we can motivate our students to encourage them to live up to their true potential.

 

Past Workshops

Fall 2021

October 14: "Grading, Student Success, and Building a Rapport"
Time/location: 2:00 pm; 1146 AV Williams
Facilitated by Michael Pedowitz

The purpose of this TATD is to look at grading standards, how to define student success, and how to effectively communicate and get buy-in from students on these goals in your classes. This is driven by my experience that students often feel that TA's are arbitrary or uninterested in helping them learn the material in the class. Therefore the workshop will be split into several sections, overviewing grading and the communication of these schemes to students, harmonizing student and TA views of success. And final the communication of your views as a TA on these ideas in a receptive and respectful way.

Thursday, October 7: "How Much Help Should I Give the Students?"
Time/location: 10:30 am; 2460 AV Williams
Facilitated by Ehounoud Joseph C Messou

A recurring challenge during office hours is to determine how much help you should give students. While we want to encourage students to learn on their own, directing them to the book cannot be viable since our main goal is to help them learn and not point out useful resources. At the same time, students will always try to get the answer from you. In this workshop, we will go over tips to find the right balance and be a helpful TA.

Friday, October 1: "What Have We Learned From TAing Online?"
Time/location:12 pm; Zoom 
Facilitated by Lei Pan

In the past three semesters, online classes have been an integrated part of the learning and teaching experience. Now with most classes returned to in-person meeting, what can we learn from the online experience and make both students and TAs experience better?

September 20: "Leading Effective Discussion Sessions"
Time: 12 pm; 2460 AV Williams
Facilitated by Arafat Hasnain

Discussion sessions are an essential element of university education. They can complement regular lecture sessions and aid the students in their understanding of the course material. There are various challenges associated with leading discussions as teaching assistants, especially in the virtual classroom environment. In this workshop, we will go over various approaches for teaching in discussion sessions that hold the students’ attention and also provide an effective medium of learning.

April 14: "Helping Students Make Informed Decisions On Potential Career Paths"
Time: 2 pm; Zoom
Facilitated by Skylar Hoffert

Finding a career path for engineering students is quite difficult, considering how many potential applications of engineering knowledge exist. In this workshop, we will discuss ways that you can encourage different students to pursue different career paths and help them to find related experience. Given the disparity of interest for undergraduate students, this can be challenging this workshop will provide you with more ideas on how to assist students who are searching for a career path.

April 8: "Subduing Ego and Promoting Self-Esteem in Students"
Time: 3:00 pm; Zoom
Facilitated by Charles Turner

We all struggle with identity and self-worth to various degrees. However, this is not an indicator of competence or aptitude for academics. If we understand the difference between self-image and self-esteem, we can improve the experience of our students and increase the chances of their success. This workshop will explore this concept and discuss ways of changing our method of instruction.

March 31: "What to Expect When Teaching"
Time: 2:00 pm, zoom
Facilitated by Semih Kara and Lei Pan

We would like to share and discuss some of the situations that you as a TA can or cannot expect. Semih will focus on the unexpected situations a TA might encounter, and Lei will discuss what are the perks that you can take advantage of, especially given that online teaching has made a lot of things easier. Our goal is to relieve you from the stress of being a TA with our experience.

March 12: "Enhancing the Communication With Students"
Time: 11:00 am; zoom
Facilitated by Xiaomin Lin

I will talk about inclusion and diversity in the classroom. And then I will talk about communication enhancement. Last but not least, I will about how to set up a good online office hour/recitation.

March 2: "How to Evaluate Students More Efficiently and Fairly in Virtual Education?
Time: 1:00 pm; zoom
Facilitated by Matin Mortaheb

Grading is inherently a burdensome process. Although there are many ways to make grading more efficient, many factors should be considered to make sure that the efforts of students are fairly assessed by the applied grading method. In this workshop, I will introduce several useful grading methods for different grading scenarios happening in virtual education which may help you as a teaching assistant to reduce the load of grading while keeps its fairness.

February 26: "Encouraging Active Learning During Office Hours"
Time: 11:00 am; zoom
Facilitated by Levi Burner

Last semester, my workshop was titled “Helping Students Apply their Coursework”. It introduced a method of structuring conversations with students in order to help them bridge the theory to practice gap. This semester’s workshop will pick up where the last left off with a more detailed exploration of question/answer conversational strategies and visual aids (especially for online classes) to encourage active participation of students in office hour’s style conversations. A particularly interesting case will be what to do if you do not know the answer. There will be a breakout session since that was well received last semester.

February 19: "Leading Effective Discussions"
12:00 pm; zoom
Facilated by Arafat Hasnain

Discussion sessions are an essential element of university education. They can complement regular lecture sessions and aid the students in their understanding of the course material. There are various challenges associated with leading discussions as teaching assistants, especially in the virtual classroom environment. In this workshop, we will go over various approaches for teaching in discussion sessions that hold the students’ attention and also provide an effective medium of learning.

November 13: "Practicing Mindfulness- Virtual Edition"
Time 2:00pm; Zoom
Facilitated by Charles Turner

Practicing mindfulness has become a popular topic for managing emotions and stress, as well as enhancing clarity and focus on one's tasks each day. This is especially critical in today's virtual/teleworking environment where you or your students might be feeling the effects of isolation. We can use these principles to promote a calm, relaxed, yet enlivened classroom environment. This workshop will discuss these principles and provide some practical exercises for TA's to apply in the virtual classroom and their own personal life.

November 4:"Balancing Your Time as a Student, TA and Researcher"
Time 2:30pm; Zoom
Facilitated by Semih Kara

Many of us can be overwhelmed under the multifaceted nature of the PhD process, since we are expected to sucessfully function as students, TAs and researchers. This workshop aims to hear out the difficulties that you might be having in this regard and introducing tips to overcome these concerns, as well as providing an environment for the fellow TAs to share their experiences and suggestions on how you can enhance your multitasking abilities. Some of the topics to be discussed includes time and load management, tips for gaining efficiency in TA and student chores and overcoming the burnout syndrome. Seeing that we have many specific tasks (e.g. grading, doing homework, carrying out experiments and proving results) of several nature, we will discuss on the micro-perspective of how to become more efficient in these tasks. We will also talk about the macro-perspective of how to place these tasks into our daily life. Finally we will talk about the burnout syndrome and share what motivated us to take this path. As a result of this workshop we hope that you will feel more control over your tasks and be motivated to embrace the difficulties of the PhD process.

October 22: "Seeing the Forest for the Tree: Helping Students Apply Their Coursework"
Time 12:30pm; Zoom
Facilitated by Levi Burner

Engineers naturally seek practical application of theoretical knowledge. However, students encountering a subject for the first-time sometimes struggle to see utility in the subject. Further, successful real-world designs often require creative application of theory. In both situations, students need to build top-down associations of practical requirements with theoretical concepts. This workshop will discuss how TA’s can encourage this process with confidence boosts, tips, and examples.

October 16: "Leading Effective Discussion Sessions"
12:00pm; Zoom
Facilitated by Arafat Hasnain

Discussion sessions are an integral part of learning in university. Discussion sessions can supplement regular lectures and are very important for the understanding of course material for students. In this workshop, we will go over different strategies for leading discussion sessions that are engaging and helpful to students.

September 30: "Stimulating the Curiosity of Engineering Students"
2:00pm; Zoom
Facilitated by Skylar Hoffert

An immensely helpful skill for educators to possess is the ability to stimulate curiosity in students. Rather than always asking questions to your students and expecting an answer back - a good learning plan should encourage students to ask questions on their own in an effort to understand the material. This workshop will discuss some strategies that TAs could use to stimulate some curiosity in the minds of their students and allow TAs to discuss successful related strategies.

September 23: "How to Survive Virtual Lab Sessions"
11:00 am; Zoom
Facilitated by Lei Pan

Communicating with students over Zoom can be awkward, especially when feedback from students are not instantaneous. For lab sections, they usually last for at least 2 to 3 hours. Therefore, a new method for interacting with students during lab sessions is needed to make the virtual session more engaging.

September 16: "How to Adapt to the Virtual Teaching Environment as a Teaching Assistant"
12:00 pm; Zoom
Facilitated by Matin Mortaheb and Xiaomin Lin

 By switching to virtual classrooms in this semester, teacher assistants will need to figure out how to adapt their instruction to facilitate active learning in the virtual setting classrooms. Therefore, the overall goal of this session is to make you prepared for the Zoom typed discussion classroom or office hours. The session consists of two parts. Matin would like to share some techniques and examples that can be used to improve the student engagement in the virtual classroom. Xiaomin will introduce some of the helpful online tools for managing the class and he also will share some of his past experiences in the virtual classroom.

March 4: "Practicing Mindfulness Inside and Outside of the Classroom"
12:30 pm; 1146 AV Williams Building
Facilitated by Charles Turner

Practicing mindfulness has become a popular topic for managing emotions and stress, as well as enhancing clarity and focus on one's tasks each day. We can also use these principles to promote a calm, relaxed, yet enlivened classroom environment. This workshop will discuss these principles and provide some practical exercises for TA's to apply in the classroom and their own personal life.

February 27: "Satisfactory Performance as a TA"
1:00 pm; 2460 AV Williams Building
Facilitated by Jinjing Han

Based on the TA evaluation form, there are three questions for students to evaluate a TA. In this workshop, I am planning to discuss how to treat students with respect, how to be well-prepared for class, and how to be an effective teacher. In addition, I will also discuss the comments I received in the past 2 years and discuss what are students really looking for, and how to satisfy students.

February 21: "Expect the Unexpected: Learning to be an Adaptable TA"
1:30 pm; 2168 AV Williams Building
Facilitated by Semih Kara

We will be discussing how to adapt to assisting classes that the TA has forgotten or the instructor does differently than what the TA is used to. I see instances of the first one in classes such as introductory digital logic (or other introductory classes) and I believe the second issue happens often in graduate classes.   I am aiming to talk on different ways to coop with these situations, such as attending classes, going through the syllabus with the instructor beforehand and following every step of the course, using student’s homeworks to help preparing rubrics, etc. as well as how this might effect time management.

February 4: "What's All This About 'Research'?"
2:00 pm; AV Williams 2460
Presented by Professor Bruce Jacob

Professor Jacob will take some time to talk to TAs about why you should do research, how to do research, and how to go about finding/picking a research advisor.

November 14: "Balancing Your Time as a TA, Student, and Researcher"
2:00 pm; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Semih Kara

As the end of the semester approaches many of us are overwhelmed under the multifaceted nature of the PhD process, since we are expected to successfully function as students, TAs and researchers. This workshop aims to understand the difficulties that you might be having in this regard and introducing tips to overcome these concerns, as well as providing an environment for the fellow TAs to share their experiences and suggestions on how you can enhance your multitasking abilities. Some of the topics to be discussed include time and load management, tips for gaining efficiency in TA and student chores and overcoming the burnout syndrome. Seeing that we have many specific tasks (e.g. grading, doing homework, carrying out experiments and proving results) of several natures, we will discuss on the micro-perspective of how to become more efficient in these tasks. We will also talk about the macro-perspective of how to place these tasks into our daily life. Finally we will talk about the burnout syndrome and share what motivated us to take this path. As a result of this workshop we hope that you will feel more control over your tasks and be motivated to embrace the difficulties of the PhD process.

October 28: "How to Ensure That Your Students Get the Maximum Benefit of a Discussion Session"
1:00 pm; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Sajani Pallegoda Vithana

A discussion session is where the students train themselves to apply the subject matter they learn in class, while clearing out their doubts on the material. TA's should make sure that they create an interactive environment during the discussion session in order to let the students get a better understanding on the concepts and to improve their critical thinking skills. Moreover, TA's could use simple techniques such as briefing the material before moving on to questions and conducting a short Q&A session, to ensure that the students get the maximum benefit of the discussion session.

October 21: Community  Event "Coffee With Your TATD Mentor"
3:00 pm; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Marissa Stewart  from TLTC

This Community Event will consist of a brief workshop regarding the benefits of feedback. This topic can be particularly helpful as mid-semester evaluations are being held and TAs are in the process of requesting feedback from their students and even mentors or professors. The second half of the event, TAs and their mentors will have time to talk over coffee and pastries.

October 17: "Motivating Your Students to Be More Independent and Prepared"
10:00 am; AV Williams 1146
Facilitated by Yuqi Zhao and Xiaomin Lin

Learning is mainly done by a student himself/herself. The recitation would be more effective and efficient if the students come prepared. Thus, motivating the students to be more independent and prepared before coming to the discussion (lab) session is an important task for all TAs. In this workshop, we aim to focus on tips we learned from our past TA experience.

October 10: "Discussion Sessions: Understanding a Student's Perspective"
11:00 am; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Sai Saketh Rambhatla

Most TAs do a good job in making the discussion session as smooth and coherent as possible but what does the student think? We as TAs work hard to prepare well for the session but do we keep the student in mind during our preparation. This workshop starts by highlighting how differently the student perceives the discussion session and ends it with some ways to address such issues.

October 1: "Making the Most of Your Office Hour"
2:00 pm; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Xin Tian

Office hour lasts usually about one hour every week. How to make full use of this one hour to help as many students as possible is an important lesson for TAs to learn. In this workshop, I aim to focus on tips I learned from my past TA experience.  1) Collect questions before office hours to have an expectation of what questions may be asked. (Or we can have a sense from students’ emails). 2) Summarize and make a list of questions that most students don’t fully understand. Solve those common questions together to save time and avoid repeating. 3) Avoid spending too much time on one question.  4) Be prepared and know the lectures. 5) Try to use illustrations like logical drawing, block diagram, etc. to facilitate explanation.

September 26: "Grading to Teach"
1:00pm; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Andrew Goffin

Instead of focusing on how to grade efficiently (that's likely covered by others), this talk will talk about how to develop a rubric and grade assignments to best educate students. For example: distribute points so the most important concepts are worth the most, write comments to lead students to the correct conclusion when they are wrong.

September 16: "Three Steps to an Engaging Lab Session"
12:30 pm; AV Williams 2460
Facilitated by Lei Pan and Jinjing Han

Students spend more time with a lab TA than the professor. Also unlike a discussion session TA, the lab TA plays a more important role in the class since students learn directly from him/her. Thus it is important for us, as lab TAs to convey course material to students in the valuable three hours. We would like to share our experience with you on how to design an engaging lab session in three steps: before the lab session, during the lab session, and after the lab session.


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