Center for Teaching and Learning

Workshop descriptions

Workshops are led by experienced graduate students, faculty and staff from departments throughout the University and are designed to provide a forum for discussing effective teaching. Most workshops are offered at least twice during the TA Conference. 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

Promote student learning in your math, science, and engineering lab settings from day one. This workshop identifies goals for lab instruction, ways to plan and facilitate effective lab sessions, and strategies for a successful first day of lab class.

Note: Teaching quiz sections (as opposed to labs) in math, science, and engineering is addressed in the “Teaching STEM Quiz Sections” workshop.

Topics include:

  • Goals and challenges of lab instruction
  • Effective strategies for teaching in labs
  • Teaching inclusively in lab settings
  • Key components of a successful first day of lab class

Teaching Modern Languages: First Day and Beyond

Which teaching methods do UW students find helpful for learning languages? This workshop explores approaches to common language learning challenges and offers strategies for helping all students meet your course’s language learning goals.

Topics include:

  • Common language learning goals and challenges
  • Teaching approaches that address students’ needs and perceptions
  • Teaching inclusively in modern language classes
  • Setting students’ expectations on the first day of your language class

Teaching 1:1 in Office Hours and Study Centers

One-to-one teaching settings offer unique opportunities for student learning. This workshop offers strategies to help advance all students’ learning in office hours and study centers.

Topics include:

  • How to communicate availability and best use of office hours to students
  • Ways to encourage student use of office hours and study centers
  • Best practices for time management and student learning during office hours
  • Preparing for challenges that may arise during office hours and in study centers
  • Inclusive teaching approaches relevant for tutoring and office hours

Teaching SS/HUM* Quiz Sections: First Day and Beyond

During *social science and humanities (SS/HUM) “quiz” sections, TAs are typically responsible for helping students understand and apply concepts learned in large lecture classes. This workshop includes an overview of strategies for helping all students learn in discussion-based quiz sections.

Topics include:

  • Goals and challenges of social science and humanities quiz sections
  • Methods for aligning section content with lecture
  • Teaching inclusively in social science and humanities quiz sections
  • Setting students’ expectations on the first day of your quiz section

Teaching STEM Quiz Sections: First Day and Beyond

During math, science, and engineering “quiz” sections, TAs are typically responsible for helping students understand and apply concepts learned in large lecture classes. This workshop includes an overview of strategies for helping all students learn in quantitative, problem-solving quiz sections.

Topics include:

  • Typical structures and goals of STEM quiz sections
  • Methods for aligning section content with lecture
  • Teaching inclusively in STEM quiz sections
  • Setting students’ expectations on the first day of your quiz section

Teaching Your Own Class: First Day and Beyond

How can you design and teach your own classes effectively? This workshop helps graduate students teaching their own classes consider how to design a syllabus, select class activities, establish authority and rapport on the first day, create inclusive classes, and find related resources.

Topics include:

  • Using backward course design to develop learning goals, activities, and assessment
  • Determining what to include in a syllabus (e.g. desired outcomes, assessment, and class activities)
  • Creating inclusive classes
  • How to establish authority, build rapport, and set the tone on day one
  • Resources for ongoing support in teaching your own classes

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Effective teaching

Equity and Access: Helping All Students Learn

Inclusive teaching aims to make classes meaningful, relevant, and accessible to students of all races, ethnicities, gender identities and expressions, socioeconomic classes, sexualities, disability/abilities, religions, nationalities, ages, citizenship statuses, and military statuses (Hockings, 2010). This workshop shares research on how inclusion impacts learning and offers specific inclusive teaching strategies.

Topics include:

  • Connections between inclusive teaching and student achievement
  • How instructors’ identities impact students’ learning
  • Strategies for planning course content and classroom practices that create equitable classroom environments
  • Resources for inclusive teaching and accessibility

How Do Students Learn? Applying the Research

Decades of research on the science of learning has contributed to the development of teaching approaches that maximize student learning. This workshop discusses these evidence-based practices in higher education contexts.

Topics include:

  • The seven principles of student learning identified by Ambrose et al (2010)
  • Strategies for applying these principles to your own teaching
  • Resources to learn more about the science of learning and its applications to teaching

Increasing Student Success with Active Learning

Multidisciplinary research demonstrates that active learning approaches increase student engagement and achievement (Freeman et al 2014). This workshop introduces a range of activities–including ungraded quizzes, “minute papers,” and group work–for use in different instructional settings.
Note: Using whole-class discussions to engage students is discussed in the “Planning and Facilitating Discussions” workshop.

Topics include:

  • What active learning is and why it is important
  • Effective strategies for group work activities
  • Different types of active learning
  • How to assess the impact of active learning activities on your students’ learning

Planning and Facilitating Discussions

Ever been in a class where no one talks? Or where only one student talks the entire time? This workshop addresses how to avoid the pitfalls of class discussion and use effective facilitation strategies for discussions that help all students learn.

Note: Small group work is covered in the “Increasing Student Success with Active Learning” workshop and problem-solving sessions are addressed in “Teaching STEM Quiz Sections.”

Topics include:

  • Knowing when a discussion is a good choice for meeting learning goals
  • Developing effective questions and preparing for discussions
  • Strategies for facilitating effective discussions and improving equitable participation
  • Resources for planning and implementing classroom discussions

Presenting Information Effectively For Students

How can you present complex concepts in ways that help students learn? This workshop explores aspects of effective presentations, including accessibility, organization, examples, visuals, pacing, and delivery.

Topics include:

  • Characteristics of a successful presentation / lecture
  • Steps and strategies for planning an accessible, organized, and effective presentation
  • Pros and cons of different types of visual aids
  • Delivery and pacing techniques

What if? Preparing for Challenging Moments

Students haven’t done the reading. A student is angry about the grade they received. A couple of students cheated on the exam. Now what? This workshop helps you prepare for the unexpected. Participants emerge from the session with strategies for responding constructively to common TA scenarios.

Topics include:

  • Data on why students cheat
  • Working with your supervising faculty members to establish class norms
  • Setting goals for responding to a challenging moments
  • Strategies for meeting these goals
  • Ways to prevent these scenarios from happening

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Assessing student work

Assessing Student Work in the Fine Arts

“But it’s all subjective!” This workshop explores strategies for assessing student work in disciplines such as art, music, drama, dance, and creative writing. It offers strategies for clearly communicating to students 1) how their work will be evaluated, and 2) why their work does or does not meet instructor expectations.

Topics include:

  • The relationship between clarity of assignments, grading, and other types of feedback
  • Characteristics of constructive critiques and feedback
  • UW’s grading policy
  • Strategies for communicating with students about grading and feedback

Grading and Commenting on Longer Student Essays

How can you be effective and efficient when grading longer student papers and essays? This workshop introduces essay grading and commenting strategies that maximize students’ learning on writing assignments within a TA’s limited amount of time.

Topics include:

  • Choosing an appropriate response strategy for a particular writing assignment
  • Developing effective criteria for responding to student work by grading or other means
  • Making the most of available time when responding to student papers
  • Preventing plagiarism by helping students learn to use resources (time, information sources, writing centers, etc.) responsibly

 Grading Short-Answer Questions

How can you be effective and efficient when grading short-answer questions on homework, exams, or lab reports? This workshop offers strategies for communicating assessment criteria to students, giving constructive feedback, grading consistently, and managing your time when grading large quantities of work.

Note: Grading essays or other longer writing assignments is addressed in “Grading and Commenting on Longer Student Essays.”

Topics include:

  • The importance of establishing and following grading criteria for your sections
  • Characteristics of constructive feedback
  • Using strategies for grading fairly and efficiently

Take Charge of Your Course Evals and Improve Your Teaching
(self-paced online module)

As a new instructor at the UW, what do you need to know about UW’s course evaluations? In this workshop you’ll learn answers to questions such as:

  • How is my teaching evaluated at the UW?
  • How do I interpret UW’s evaluation forms and response reports?
  • Why was my online response rate low – and does it matter?
  • How can I best make use of students’ feedback?

You’ll also gain strategies for improving your course evaluations, such gathering and applying student feedback earlier in the quarter.

To access this workshop, use the URL below and login using your UW Net ID:

Please note: This workshop is in Canvas, the Learning Management System we use here at the UW. If you’re unfamiliar with Canvas, that’s okay (no experience is required). An introduction to Canvas is provided.

Please contact us at with questions or if you have any trouble accessing the workshop.


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Learning Technologies Workshops

Canvas: Conquering Assignments & Grading

Learn about providing rich feedback for your students using assignments and the Canvas Gradebook.

Topics include:

  • Building different types of assignments
  • Grading using SpeedGrader, including inline comments
  • Settings to make grading faster, and more efficient

Canvas: Quick Start

Learn the basics to get your course up and running, with hands on practice. Sample files will be provided.

Topics include:

  • Setting up your course homepage
  • Basic course organization methods
  • Uploading files for students
  • Creating an online assignment

Engage and Assess Student Learning with Poll Everywhere

Classroom response technology can engage students during class and help TAs assess student learning. This session will focus on Poll Everywhere, a classroom response tool accessible on any smart device and free for all UW faculty, students, and staff.

Topics include:

  • How to create and use polls in your classroom and beyond
  • Effective teaching methods using Poll Everywhere (e.g., peer instruction and poll, lecture, re-poll)
  • Integration with Canvas (e.g., student registration and exporting scores)
  • Guided hands-on time with Poll Everywhere

Teaching Tools for Engagement

Keeping students focused is a challenge. Technology isn’t a magical fix, but it offers novel ways for students to interact with you, their peers, and the curriculum. In this workshop we’ll introduce three tools⁠—Panopto, Zoom, and Poll Everywhere⁠—and strategies for connecting with students in and out of class.

Topics include:

  • Brief introduction to these tools
  • Best practices
  • Integrating tools with Canvas
  • Hands-on activities


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International TA Program workshops

These sessions take place Monday, September 16 (1:15-4:30 p.m.) and are required for all first-year TAs who are not native speakers of English. For more information, see Information for TAs who are not native speakers of English.

Visit the International TA Program webpages for additional information and resources.

Getting to Know UW Students: Overview for ITAs

This workshop will have two parts: we will discuss the make-up of the student body at the UW and implications for teaching.  We will also 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.


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Opening Plenary

Graduate Teaching Assistantships at the UW: What You Can Look Forward To

The opening Conference plenary takes place Tuesday, September 17 (9-10:30 a.m.) and offers graduate students the opportunity to learn more about their roles as TAs, identify UW resources and policies, and hear from faculty and experienced TAs.

Closing Plenary

In it Together: TAs and Mental Health at UW

Co-facilitated by Natacha Foo Kune (Counseling Center) and Ken Yasuhara (College of Engineering)
Wednesday, September 18 (2:45 – 4:00 p.m.)
Recent data shows that the most common health risks to graduate and undergraduate students are anxiety and depression. In this session, participants explore the connections between mental health and academic success at UW. They learn and practice ways to support students, colleagues, and themselves. In addition, participants emerge with information on campus-based resources as well as community or cohort support.

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