GSI Teaching Orientation Winter 2019

Date: Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Time: 9:00am - 5:30pm (check-in & walk-in registration begins at 8:00am)

Location: Michigan League (911 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104)



CRLT’s GSI Teaching Orientation is designed to help new GSIs prepare for their initial teaching experiences. It also has proven to be a valuable event for experienced GSIs and for graduate students who anticipate teaching in the future.

You should check with the individual(s) who oversee GSI appointments in the department in which you will be teaching to find out whether attendance at GSITO is required for your GSI appointment. All new Engineering GSIs must attend a teaching orientation.

Despite severe weather, GSITO will go on as planned unless the University closes. Please consider dressing in layers as the Michigan League rooms vary in temperature.


Please choose a set to view the list of sessions inside and register.
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Brief Agenda

8:00am - 9:00am: Check-in & Walk-in Registration
9:00am - 9:30am: Opening Remarks
9:45am - 11:15am: Concurrent Sessions (please choose 1 below)
11:25am - 12:15pm: Lunch & Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) Presentation
12:25pm - 1:20pm: CRLT Player's Performance
1:30pm - 3:30pm: Inclusive Teaching Session
3:45pm - 5:30pm: Practice Teaching


Please proceed to Step 2 to choose your Concurrent Session

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Please note that you are only allowed to choose one session to attend. If the session you are interested in is full, please choose another one as there will not be a waitlist.


Available Seats 24
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Whitney Peoples, Instructional Consultant, CRLT

This session is intended 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, we will 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.

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Available Seats 64
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Jonathan Beaumont, Computer Science and Engineering & Katie Reichl, Aerospace Engineering

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.

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Available Seats 24
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Lisa Jong, English Language and Literature

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 1) how their own social identity may be seen by and impacts the learning experiences of their students and 2) strategies for establishing authority and credibility in the classroom. There will be opportunities to explore, share, and discover tips and strategies that work across disciplines.

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Available Seats 48
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Sarah Moncada, Office of Academic Innovation & Jeff Shi, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

This workshop aims to prepare new 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.

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Available Seats 64
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Jimmy Brancho, Chemistry & Angy Perez Martinez, Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation

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.

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Available Seats 48
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Imran Mirza, Physics & Lauren Rodenbarger, Pathology

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, with a particular focus on quantitative courses and the sciences. 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.

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Available Seats 48
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Becca Pickus, Social Work & Mary Renda, Romance Languages and Literatures

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.

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Available Seats 24
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Sophie Hunt, History & Grant Jackson, CRLT

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.

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