Session Descriptions

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 • Nebraska Union & Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center

Updates for this year coming soon

Meanwhile these pages still show last year's details to give you an idea of what kind of events and sessions to expect.

Whether you're a new graduate teaching assistant or an experienced, senior-level TA, you're sure to find something in our campuswide TA workshops to get you energized about teaching. The day also offers an opportunity to get to know other TAs who'll eventually become your friends and colleagues.


Signal, Not Noise: Becoming a Better Teacher By Listening to Student Resistance

Anton Tolman, Ph.D.Professor of Behavioral Science, Utah Valley University
Student resistance to active learning is a regular and expected occurrence for those teaching in higher education. Instructors naturally tend to see it as “noise” that obscures or interferes with the teaching “signal” they are trying to send. However, if we can begin to understand that resistance is actually a signal from the students and learn to interpret it, we can reduce their resistance and create more effective learning environments.

Skills Sessions

Assessing and Intervening to Reduce Student Resistance to Learning in the Classroom

Anton Tolman, Ph.D.Utah Valley University
Every instructor encounters student resistance to learning, even from the very best students. This workshop will focus on exploring an Integrated Model of Student Resistance, the first systemic understanding of the origins of student resistance. We will then use this model as a framework for exploring effective assessment and intervention methods to reduce resistance and improve student learning. 

Creating & Maintaining a Positive Classroom Environment

Brandon Bosch, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Practice, Sociology and Political Science

Part of effective teaching is setting up an environment where students are able to learn and feel comfortable to participate. We’ll discuss how you can share expectations and establish norms in class. In this session, you'll also learn specific strategies to help you establish rapport with your students and create a classroom where all students can actively participate in class.

Designing & Delivering Effective Lectures

Samuel A. Nelson, Ph.D.Associate Director, Center for Entrepreneurship

Lectures are a predominate method of transferring information in university classrooms yet they tend to be instructor-centered and can have a bad reputation among students. In this workshop, we’ll focus on how to engage students in the current age of smart phones and information overload.

Grading Lab Reports and Essays

Cory Forbes, Ph.D.,Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources

This session presents important considerations for assessing student work, including: grading consistently; communicating your grading criteria to students; giving constructive feedback; and managing your time when grading large amounts of student work. Because grading practices vary widely, we will also discuss strategies for learning more about grading in your specific TA assignment.

Developing Materials for Hands-on/Active Learning

Nathan Wakefield, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of Mathematics

An important step in successful teaching is successful preparation. However, preparing materials for Hands-on/Active learning can be a difficult task. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies and techniques for preparing materials to be used in a Hand-on/Active classroom.

Using Technology to Promote Student Learning

Guy Trainin, Ph.D.Professor, Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education

This session will focus on how the use of technology (from simple to more advanced technologies) combined with effective teaching strategies can positively impact student learning.

Teaching as Research

Cal Garbin, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Psychology

Teaching-as-research involves the deliberate, systematic, and reflective use of research methods to develop and implement teaching practices that advance the learning experiences and learning outcomes of students. In this session you’ll learn how to approach your teaching from a research perspective: (1) identifying a teaching issue or question; (2) translating theory to hypotheses; (3) action research design; (4) collecting data; (5) analyzing and interpreting results; (6) translating results to practice; and (7) planning the next study.

Breakout Sessions

Disciplinary Breakout Sessions

Join new and experienced TAs in your discipline and learn about effective teaching methods relevant to the teaching you'll be doing as a TA — for example, holding office hours, grading papers, running a lab, or teaching a recitation.

Each session will focus on applying what you've learned about the principles of learning and effective teaching within the context of your discipline. Sessions will be facilitated by experienced faculty and award-winning teaching assistants.

Wrap Up

Wrap Up Session: Advice for New and Returning TAs

A panel of experienced TAs will answer questions, offer strategies and describe “best practices” based upon their teaching experiences at UNL. This session is a great opportunity to explore what makes an effective teaching assistant.