Graduate Student Instructor Teaching Orientation Winter 2018 Agenda

Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

Michigan League, 911 N. University Ave

Please bring your MCard and consider dressing in layers since Michigan League rooms vary in temperature. 


8:30-9:00 a.m. Check-in and Walk-in Registration  (Mendelssohn Theatre - 911 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109)
9:00-9:30 a.m.  Opening Remarks: Welcome to Teaching at U-M                                                
9:45-11:15 a.m. Concurrent Sessions:
  • Dealing with Controversy During Classroom Discussion:
    Controversy may emerge in the classroom as instructors expose students to new subjects and points-of-view. How can GSIs ensure that controversy becomes a productive part of the learning process rather than a source of tension and hostility? This workshop will offer GSIs specific techniques for dealing with classroom controversy, as well as tools to discuss social identity and to recognize resistance. We will consider both specific exercises and theoretical approaches that will help GSIs make the most of controversy in the classroom. 
  • Facilitating Discussions in the Humanities and Social Sciences:
    This workshop will enable participants to reflect on two essential components of leading discussions in the humanities and social sciences: planning and facilitation. Workshop participants will acquire a toolbox of strategies for planning discussions, such as creating a climate conducive for discussion, framing effective questions, encouraging participation, and responding to students’ questions and comments. Workshop participants will also work on facilitation techniques and ways to address problems that arise, even during well-planned class discussions. The facilitators will model selected teaching techniques during the workshop to help participants envision using them in their own courses. 
  • Facilitating Group Work:
    Group work is a powerful pedagogical technique that can enhance student learning, but it is also easy for students to be marginalized and disengaged during group activities. The role of the GSI is to ensure that all students are engaged and included in groups, and that individual learning is maximized. This session will model effective formation and management of student groups, including techniques for conflict resolution.  
  • Grading in Quantitative Courses & the Sciences:
    Grading is an important task, and it can be a complex aspect of the teaching experience. This session will introduce and explain GSI grading responsibilities. The workshop highlights policy issues (course policies and student privacy), provides suggestions for how to grade, gives attending GSIs an opportunity to create a rubric and practice grading, and offers some tips to make the task of grading more enjoyable.
  • Identity & Authority in the Classroom:
    Identity and authority are complementary aspects of creating and maintaining a productive atmosphere in the classroom, the lab, and during office hours. This workshop gives GSIs a chance to reflect on how their own social identity may be seen by and impact the learning experiences of their students. There will be opportunities to explore, share, and discover tips and strategies that work across disciplines.
  • Leading Problem-Solving Sessions:
    One of the most challenging aspects of teaching is getting students to think critically and problem solve independently. In this workshop we will explore a range of problem-solving approaches and practice several strategies for teaching these skills. This session will cover problem solving in a variety of settings, but will be most useful to GSIs teaching in quantitative fields.
  • Teaching in Race & Ethnicity Courses:
    This session will be helpful for anyone who knows they will be a GSI in an R&E course, as well as those who want to learn more about the requirement or pedagogical strategies that can be useful in courses focused on race and ethnicity. In this session, join Whitney Peoples, CRLT’s Instructional Consultant for R&E, to share and learn about common concerns around teaching race, ethnicity, and inequality that occur across disciplines. The session will include strategies and best practices for facilitating dialogue, managing and maximizing hot moments, and navigating the role of social identities -- both the students’ and the instructors’ -- in shaping classroom dynamics.
  • Technology for the First Days of Class: Canvas and the Google Education Suite:
    This workshop aims to prepare new Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) for the first days of class. Specifically, it focuses on the most frequently used tech platforms at Michigan: Canvas (U-M's course management system) and the Google Education Suite (e.g. Gmail, Calendar, etc.), as well as considerations and best practices for using these tools in your classroom. Special attention is given to the responsibilities of a GSI in managing and updating course content, as well as the ways Canvas and Google can streamline teaching tasks.  Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop or tablet to the session, in order to work along with technology demonstrations and troubleshoot issues.
11:25-12:15 p.m. Lunch (provided) & Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) Presentation
12:25-1:20 p.m. CRLT Players  Performance - TBD: Welcome to Teaching
1:30-3:30 p.m. Inclusive Teaching During the First Week & Beyond:
This workshop will provide strategies and teaching practices to engage and support the success of all students in your course. Discussions and activities will focus on creating an intentionally inclusive learning environment, navigating challenging interactions, and exploring the roles student and instructor identities play in the classroom.
3:45-5:30 p.m. Practice Teaching (Assigned Rooms in the Michigan League and the MLB)