TA/TM Week: Orientation to Remote Teaching

TA/TM Week (formerly Day) is SFU’s most comprehensive orientation event for both new and veteran teaching assistants and tutor-markers. Meet your peers and get information and advice from experienced TAs and other members of SFU’s academic community. You will gain knowledge, skills and confidence for your teaching support roles.

Presented by the Centre for Educational Excellence in cooperation with the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and the Teaching Support Staff Union at SFU.

“TA/TM Day was a one-stop shop that provided me with the skills and knowledge to excel in my instructional roles at SFU.” – Jessica, BPK 

Spring 2021 TA/TM Orientation: Engaging Students in the Disciplines

For this Spring 2021 supplementary orientation, all workshops will be offered virtually on March 5. See below for the full schedule and registration information. Note that times are subject to change.

Register here in advance for Zoom access to sessions 1, 3 and 5.

Register here in advance for Zoom access to sessions 2, 4 and 6.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meetings.

Fri, March 5

1:00–2:00 p.m.

Session 1 | Sparking Creativity: Tips and Tools for Developing Creative and Engaging Tutorial Activities
: Lauren Knight (School of Communication)

This workshop will introduce TAs to new tools, tips and ideas to develop engaging and creative tutorial activities. We will explore some free and easy-to-use platforms that can help you create engaging content such as slides, polls, quizzes and handouts. This session will also highlight the importance of a case study in encouraging students to explore concepts in new ways. Let’s get creative!

1:00–2:00 p.m.

Session 2 | The Writing on the Classroom Wall: Enhancing Remote Tutorials with Zoom Annotation
: Leah Wiener (Department of History)

Beyond chats and polls, Zoom has a built-in feature that is excellent for engaging students through non-verbal participation. In this workshop, we will learn how to use the annotate function to foster community building, offer multiple forms of participation, and solicit student feedback in remote tutorials.

2:15–3:15 p.m.

Session 3 | Active Learning in Remote Labs and Tutorials
: Zohreh D. Champiri and Alexander Bretin (School of Interactive Arts & Technology)

Many students are shy about turning on their cameras or participating in remote sessions. This workshop will explore strategies and tools for creating an online environment in which students feel comfortable enough to actively engage in learning. We will consider specific technologies as well as learning activities that can be adapted to various disciplines and learning contexts.

2:15–3:15 p.m.

Session 4 | The Three Pillars of Smooth Marking: Efficiency, Effectiveness and Fairness
: Canan Gunes (Faculty of Education)

This workshop is designed for beginning TAs and TMs who are expected to mark essay-based assignments. While we invest a lot of time in marking, we would like to experience this process as smoothly as possible. Participants will explore effective and fair marking strategies by engaging with exemplar rubrics and student written work and by reflecting on their interactions. Upon completion of the workshop, you should feel more at ease with interpreting pre-determined rubrics, be able to utilize the rubric to give effective feedback to improve student learning, and be able to identify specific Canvas tools to facilitate marking and good time management.

3:30–4:30 p.m.

Session 5 | Place-based Learning While Sheltering in Place? Engaging Students Using Virtual Field Trips
: Leah Wiener (Department of History)

Remote learning presents surprising opportunities for place-based learning. Virtual tours and museum exhibits enable students to explore locations close to and far from home. In this workshop, we will examine the many online resources that enable TAs to plan engaging tutorial sessions that visit libraries, museums, heritage sites and unique landscapes around the world. We will also use the SFU library’s databases and digital collections to learn how to plan a virtual scavenger hunt.

3:30–4:30 p.m.

Session 6 | “Where do I even start?”—TA Feedback in Writing-Intensive (“W”) Courses
: Jorji Temple (English)

Don’t know what to write on your student’s papers? Unsure how to format or express feedback on their work? This workshop provides a toolkit that participants can customize to their own discipline and course. Bring a paper from your discipline and learn how to mark it up! Hear how your colleagues approach marking and feedback, and ask general questions about TAing W courses in a friendly, conversational workshop setting. The session concludes with a method for integrating your discipline’s material and teaching writing.

Other resources

In addition to these online workshops, self-directed, asynchronous learning will be available to TAs throughout the week via the Remote Teaching for TAs and TMs Canvas site. The online modules on the site provide teaching and facilitation strategies that TAs and TMs can use to create engaging learning experiences for undergraduates. Learn about: 

  • Facilitating Online Tutorials in Zoom/Blackboard
  • Marking Assignments, Discussions and Exams
  • Facilitating Active Learning in Tutorials and Labs
  • Communicating with Your Course Supervisor
  • Holding Office Hours Online
  • Supporting Student Success

Enroll at: canvas.sfu.ca/enroll/GW3C6K


E: ceeevent@sfu.ca
T: 778 782 3910

Six reasons you should go to TA/TM Day

#1 Improved tutorial skills

#2 Awareness of my role

#3 Empathy for students

#4 Tips that come from experience

#5 Support for multilingual students

#6 Increased confidence