The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR), at the University of Alberta, is holding a Teaching Development Week, September 1, 2, and 6, 2011, “for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and the campus community at large.” Apparently directed to those with no experience, or minimal, the inexperienced were there along with others whom have been teaching for a while. I’ve taught for 9+ years in postsecondary education, and I was one who took advantage of the opportunity to attend. While I do not expect to be teaching postsecondary classes again in the near future, it has been well worth my time. It was a good refresher on many points, and there is always something new to learn. I especially like to watch outstanding presenters, and take away ideas from how they do it. I am indebted to the FGSR for allowing me to attend as a non University of Alberta student.

When I referred to the “masses,” I wasn’t kidding. In the college environment where I primarily taught, 5o students was a large class. At the University of Alberta, some classes may be in the 100s, although not all are large–especially in grad school! Many of the participants were to be teaching Assistants (TAs), teaching and/or grading papers. Hearing about a course size of 800 to 1,000, with perhaps 20+ TAs, was eye opening. I need to clarify if those numbers are broken into smaller classes for the lectures.

In my PhD program, I am expected to continue my personal training and development in related areas. While teaching classes is not something I will need to do, there are always presentation opportunities, and teaching skills help make a well-rounded academic/educator. It is time to dust off some teaching related books from my shelf, such as Brookfield and Preskill’s 1999 book, “Discussion as a Way of Teaching” (from Jossey-Bass).

These are the sessions I attended so far:

  • Code of Student Ethics
  • Plagiarism
  • The First Class: How to make it First Class
  • Giving Effective Feedback to Your Students
  • Strategies for Interacting with Different Types of Students
  • Learning Objectives
  • Teaching with PowerPoint
  • Graduate Student Perspectives on Teaching
  • Developing your Teaching Philosophy
  • Effective Grading in Biology (really more generic than the title)
  • Upcoming on September 6:

  • Leading Discussions
  • Teaching Effectively in the Lab
  • Introduction to Canadian Culture and Teaching
  • Bringing the Library and Literature research into your Classroom
  • Smart Classroom Technology – How Smart Classrooms Work
  • Teaching with English as your Second Language
  • I’m looking forward to attending the final day in this series.

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