KOLT TA Training Program

KOLT organizes a training program for new Teaching Assistants (TAs) every year. The training consists of a workshop on effective teaching and TA duties, video recorded feedback sessions and elective workshops. KOLT also offers customized training programs for new or senior TAs in collaboration with specific departments that wish to address some concerns about the performances of TAs raised by faculty or students via mid-semester course evaluations.

In Fall 2013, with the initiative of the Graduate School of Sciences and Engineering (GSSE), KOLT launched an extensive training program for new TAs to help them in their teaching duties in Problem Solving sessions (PS), Laboratory sessions (LAB) and Discussion Sessions (DS). The whole program intends to enable new TAs to:

  • understand the importance of their role in undergraduate courses;
  • behave according to KU rules and regulations;
  • develop an understanding related to the ethical code of conduct that applies to relationships with faculty and students;
  • learn some of the basics of effective teaching
  • create a learning environment that fosters problem solving and critical thinking skills of students;
  • know how to assess and improve their teaching.

The program generally consist of  three consecutive components:

1. Effective Teaching Tips and Best Practices Workshop
Workshop covers the following major headings:

  • TA responsibilities at KU (KU rules and regulations)
  • Preparing for the first day
  • Leading effective PS / LAB / DS
  • Motivating and engaging students
  • Assessing and grading fairly
  • Promoting positive learning environment (how to establish rapport with students and how to set rules)
  • Academic expectations of undergraduate students
  • Giving quizzes and exams
  • Conducting office hours
  • One-to-one teaching
  • Advising
  • Assessing teaching
  • Working with faculty
  • Getting ready for microteaching Academic expectations of undergraduate students

2. Microteaching
Microteaching sessions are organized as a group activity. Each microteaching session is attended by five to seven participants. Each participant gives a seven-minute presentation on a topic of an introductory science, engineering, social science, humanities, health, economics, marketing, etc. Participants are expected to choose their presentation topics based on their discipline.

Microteaching sessions are delivered in classes that are equipped with screen, boards and other necessary basic equipment. If the TA’s weekly responsibility is to solve problems on the board using a marker, then he/she is expected to do so in microteaching too. In some courses such as computer programming, TAs can integrate technology into their presentations. For those who plan to deliver “high-tech” presentations, it is highly advised to get into contact with KOLT staff to arrange the necessary set-ups.

After each presentation, group participants and KOLT staff give immediate feedback. KOLT staff evaluates each performance based on some pre-determined criteria.

TAs with low performance are invited for a redo microteaching session(s).

Presentations are recorded so that TAs can make their own self-evaluation when they watch their performance later on. TAs can drop by KOLT to get their own videos on the following week of their microteaching.

3. Elective Workshops
In order to receive a TA Training Certificate from KOLT, graduate students are expected to attend at least one of the following Elective Workshops:

  • Grading
  • Blackboard (Learning Management System)
  • Classroom Management
  • Learning Principles & Teaching Methods