Center for Teaching and Learning

Workshop Descriptions 2014

This page provides brief descriptions of workshops offered at the TA/RA conference. For how to register visit the Conference Registration page.

Note: Most workshops are offered at least twice during the Conference. So, if you would like to attend two workshops that meet at the same time, you should be able to find the same workshop offered at another time.


Types of TA Assignments


Teaching in Lab Settings: First Day and Beyond

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) This workshop offers ways to help students learn in science and engineering lab settings. We will identify goals of lab instruction, ways to plan and facilitate effective lab sessions, and strategies for a successful first day of class.

Teaching Math, Science & Engineering Quiz Sections: First Day and Beyond

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) During “quiz” sections, TAs are typically responsible for helping students understand and apply concepts learned in large lecture classes. This workshop will include: setting frameworks and expectations for the section on the first day of class, an overview of TA roles in quantitative problem-solving quiz sections, aligning section content with lecture, and strategies for fostering active student learning.

Teaching Modern Languages: First Day and Beyond

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) In this session, we will discuss feedback from UW students on the teaching methods they find helpful for learning languages. Our discussion will include different approaches to common language learning issues, as well as ways to help resolve possible differences between student perceptions of what they need and instructors’ understanding of effective language learning approaches.

Teaching One-to-One in Office Hours & Study Centers

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) Teaching students in one-to-one situations offers excellent opportunities for student learning. In this workshop we will examine ways to: encourage student use of office hours and study centers; use one-to-one teaching opportunities to promote student ability to work independently; and anticipate and prepare for a variety of questions, issues and challenges which may arise in office hour and study center situations.

Teaching Social Science & Humanities Quiz Sections: First Day and Beyond

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) During “quiz” sections, TAs are typically responsible for helping students understand and apply concepts learned in large lecture classes. This workshop will include: setting frameworks and expectations for students for the section on the first day of class; an overview of TA roles in discussion-based quiz sections; aligning section content with lecture; and strategies for fostering stimulating student discussions.

Teaching Your Own Class: First Day and Beyond

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) This workshop is designed to help TAs who are assuming primary responsibility for a class as part of their transition into leadership roles. We will touch on the many practical issues TAs face when they run their own class: conveying expectations and establishing authority/rapport on the first day, reserving equipment, making arrangements for students with disabilities, dealing with difficult classroom situations, grading, and where to go for information on related University policies. Although we will not address course design in detail in this workshop, we will provide a list of resources to help you through this process. Note: You need not be designing a class from scratch to find this workshop helpful.


Effective Teaching


Activities to Engage Your Students in Learning

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) • Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) This workshop will emphasize approaches for designing, leading, and assessing activities that help engage students in the learning process. We’ll discuss a range of activities — such as ungraded quizzes, “minute papers,” and group work. The workshop will focus on activities that can be used in a variety of instructional settings. Note: Using whole-class discussions to engage students will be discussed in the “Planning and Facilitating Discussions” workshop.

Dealing With Difficult Classroom Situations

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) • Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) This session addresses some challenging situations that TAs might face in the classroom. You will learn about strategies to prevent and/or respond to issues such as disruptive student behavior, cheating and plagiarism, or student challenges to grades.

Including All Students: Teaching in the Diverse Classroom

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) • Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) The research on teaching and learning tells us that inclusive teaching contributes to greater student engagement and more effective learning overall. Inclusive teaching in higher education refers to the ways in which all aspects of teaching and learning are designed and implemented to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant, and accessible to all regardless of social differences such as race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, class, sexuality, disability/ability, religion, nationality, age, and military status (Hockings, 2010). Participants in this workshop will learn about inclusive teaching, including specific strategies to effectively engage all students..

How Students Learn: Applying the Principles of Learning to Teaching

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) The first step in designing teaching strategies that make coursework doable, meaningful, and enjoyable for students is to understand what helps them learn. In this workshop, we will discuss teaching strategies that are grounded in research on how students learn. Relevant for teaching in all settings.

Planning and Facilitating Discussions

Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) • Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) Classroom discussions can be the most exciting — and challenging — part of teaching a class. In this workshop we will be addressing strategies for planning different types of discussions and for developing effective questions and follow-ups that provoke students’ interest. Note: Small group work is covered in “Activities to Engage Your Students in Learning” and problem-solving sessions are addressed in “Teaching Math, Science, & Engineering Quiz Sections”

Presenting Information Effectively In the Classroom

Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) In this workshop, we will examine aspects of effective presentations such as: organization, examples, visuals, pacing, and delivery. We will discuss ways to overcome the fear of public speaking and to assess the effectiveness of presentations. Although our primary focus will be on presenting information in the classroom, these skills can also be useful in other presentation formats.


Assessing Student Work


Assessing Student Work in the Fine Arts

Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) This workshop will explore ways of assessing student work in disciplines like art, music, drama, dance, creative writing, etc. We will examine strategies for clearly communicating to students 1) how they are being evaluated before they complete assignments, and 2) why their work does or does not meet instructor expectations. We will discuss how to develop a list of expectations and evaluative criteria, assign grading value to those items, and build a grading matrix based on that information.

Grading Short-Answer Questions on Homework, Exams, or Lab Reports

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) This workshop presents important considerations for assessing short answers and short essays (a couple of paragraphs or less), including: grading consistently, communicating your grading criteria to students, giving constructive feedback, and managing your time when grading large amounts of student work. Because grading practices vary widely, we will also discuss strategies for learning more about grading in your specific TA assignment. Note: Grading essays or other extended writing assignments is addressed in “Responding to Longer Student Essays and Assigning Grades.”

Responding to Longer Student Essays and Assigning Grades

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) TA responsibilities in many departments involve responding to lengthy written work by students. In this workshop, you will learn strategies for responding to essays and other extended writing assignments in ways that are helpful to students and time-efficient for instructors. We’ll talk about how to tailor feedback to an assignment, tips on preventing plagiarism, and on-campus resources to help students hone their writing skills. Note: Grading short-answer questions and shorter essays is addressed in “Grading Short-Answer Questions on Homework, Exams, or Lab Reports.”


RA Workshops


These workshops will provide an opportunity for you to meet with experienced RAs in a discipline close to yours in a smaller workshop setting. The discussion format will allow time for your questions and for the sharing of resources that will be helpful to you in your RA role.

Being an RA in Health and Biological Sciences

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) Including Nursing, Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biostatistics, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Pharmacology, Physiology and Biophysics, and related fields.

Being an RA in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Engineering

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) Including Human Centered Design and Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics, and related fields.

Being an RA in Natural and Physical Sciences

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) Including Chemistry, Forest Resources, Earth and Space Sciences, Psychology, Archaeology, Ocean and Fisheries Science, Physics, and related fields.

Being an RA in the Social Sciences, Arts, Humanities and Professional Schools

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) Including Law, Business, Public Affairs, Social Work, Built Environments, Information School and related fields.


Professional Development


Balancing Graduate School Demands

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) • Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) Graduate students typically have to juggle multiple responsibilities: studying, teaching, research, and personal life. In this workshop, participants will share and discuss strategies for setting and prioritizing goals, managing time, and dealing with stress.

Gathering and Using Student Feedback to Improve Your Teaching

Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) This session introduces several ways to gather student feedback and use it to improve your teaching. In addition to looking at the end-of-quarter student evaluation forms, you will examine options such as online and in-class mid-quarter surveys or classroom assessment tasks.

Presenting Your Research Effectively

Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) In this workshop, we will examine aspects of effective presentations such as: organization, examples, visuals, pacing, and delivery.  We will discuss ways to overcome the fear of public speaking and to assess the effectiveness of presentations.  The primary focus will be on presenting your research at conferences and in seminars.


UW-IT Learning Technologies Workshops

Note: UW-IT workshops have limited enrollment.


Canvas Part 1

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) • Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) This is the first of a two-part introduction to the Canvas Learning Management System. This session will cover how to log into and navigate in Canvas, communicating with your students, the process of basic course setup, and various methods to streamline file uploads. We will also discuss the organization of additional pages within your Canvas course.

Canvas Part 2

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) • Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) This is the second of a two-part introduction to the Canvas Learning Management System. This session will cover the process of setting up Assignments, managing the Gradebook, grading with SpeedGrader, and organizing a course using Modules. Participants will have time to experiment, ask questions, and should be able to confidently administer a Canvas course after this two-part series.

Canvas Collaboration

Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) The Canvas Learning Management System enhances class teamwork by easing group creation and collaboration. Workshop attendees will discover the structure of Canvas Groups, how to create and manage groups and group assignments, and the collaborative potential of live-edited documents and web conferences. This workshop is designed for individuals who have prior experience with the Canvas LMS. Individuals new to Canvas will be better served by attending the “Canvas Part 1 & Part 2″ workshops first.

Canvas Quizzing

Session 5 (Wed. 9:00-10:15) • Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) The Canvas Learning Management System contains a powerful and flexible quizzing platform. This session will cover the process of building basic quizzes, importing Catalyst WebQ quizzes, the offline building of quizzes using Respondus, and the basics of administering quizzes in Canvas. This workshop is designed for individuals who have prior experience with the Canvas LMS. Individuals new to Canvas will be better served by attending the “Canvas Part 1 & Part 2″ workshops first.

Canvas Rubrics

Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) • Session 8 (Wed. 2:45-4:00) In this workshop you will learn how to create and use rubrics for grading purposes. You will also learn how to import rubrics from other courses and your home department. This workshop is designed for individuals who have prior experience with the Canvas LMS. Individuals new to Canvas will be better served by attending the “Canvas Part 1 & Part 2″ workshops first.

Lecture Capture

Session 2 (Tues. 10:45-12:00) •  Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) Using the UW Panopto recording and video management system, instructors can record class lectures and upload videos. In this workshop, you will learn how to use the UW Panopto system with your Mac or PC to record and distribute lectures, how to manage access to your recordings, and techniques for creating effective recordings.

Surveys in WebQ

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) WebQ is a powerful platform that allows you to design and administer online quizzes and surveys to a wide range of audiences. Workshop attendees will learn the basics of creating a WebQ survey for research. After attending this workshop you will be able to create a survey, customize the security settings, create notifications and download participant responses.


UW Libraries Workshops

Note: UW-Libraries workshops have limited enrollment.


Effective Research & Writing Assignment Design

Session 4 (Tues. 2:45-4:00) A well-designed assignment is an excellent teaching tool and can help students develop research skills, critical thinking skills, and subject knowledge. This workshop provides TAs with practical tips and resources on designing effective assignments, possible pitfalls to avoid, and examples of alternatives to the traditional term paper.

Master Your Data! Navigating Data Services at the UW Libraries

Session 7 (Wed. 1:15-2:30) Managing your data throughout the research lifecycle is an essential component of your academic career. This hands-on workshop will introduce you to the range of data services available from the UW Libraries, including data acquisition, citation, management, sharing, archiving, research reproducibility and (finally!) data publishing.

Research Smarter, Not Harder: Research & Information Management Tips and Tools

Session 3 (Tues. 1:15-2:30) • Session 6 (Wed. 10:30-11:45) This workshop will help you get organized, keep current and become a more efficient researcher, fast. You’ll learn how to manage your research by using a web-based personal citation database that lets you import, store, and share your research citations. You’ll also learn how to keep up with new research in your field via RSS research and journal alerts. The workshop will also explore information management tools to organize your research.


International TA Program Workshops


These sessions, which will take place on the afternoon of Monday, September 15th in Savery Hall Room 260, are required for all first-year TAs who are not native speakers of English. For additional information, see Information for TAs who are Not Native Speakers of English.

Getting to Know UW Students: Overview for International TAs

This workshop will have two parts: first, we will discuss the make-up of the student body at the UW and implications for teaching; then, we will provide an overview of the ITA Program and ways the Program can help support you as a TA.

Panel Discussion With Experienced International TAs

In this question and answer session you will have the opportunity to hear from international TAs about their experiences learning to be effective teachers at the UW.