Virtual Short Course: Coaching your TAs to use effective teaching strategies in introductory Earth science courses

April 22 & 29, 2022 - virtual short course two Friday afternoons

11 am-2 pm PT | 12-3 pm MT | 1-4 pm CT | 2-5 pm ET | 6-9 pm UTC

Registration closed Friday April 8.


Beth Pratt-Sitaula (UNAVCO)
Karen Viskupic (Boise State University)
Becca Walker (Mt San Antonio College)
Anne Egger (Central Washington University)


Do you teach introductory undergraduate Earth or environmental science courses?

Have you ever thought outcomes would better if your teaching assistants were more knowledgable and versatile in their teaching skills?

As with all instructors, teaching assistants (TAs) can benefit from professional development to broaden and hone their skills. Too often, however, TAs are thrown into teaching labs or recitation sessions with little or no preparation. Sometimes they must even find or develop their own teaching resources. This can lead to lower student outcomes and increased student, TA, and faculty stress and dissatisfaction. If grading is not well coordinated within a TA-team, further challenges can arise. Even TAs who are fairly comfortable teaching, may not be using interactive teaching strategies that could further improve student learning.

Curricular collections such as GETSI, InTeGrate, and EDDIE provide a wide array of data-rich, societally-focused teaching resources, many of which feature use of interactive teaching methods. However, many TAs are not equipped to help faculty integrate these activities into introductory labs/courses.

This virtual short course aims to start addressing this challenge by providing instructors with actionable strategies for developing TA teaching and assessment skills. Ultimately, better prepared TAs can lead to less faculty stress, more TA satisfaction, and more learning for undergraduates.

Target Audience

This short course is for any instructor of introductory Earth or environmental science courses at college or university level. People expecting to start teaching soon are also eligible (ex. post-docs or other early-career scientists).

$150 stipend* for participants who attend both sessions and complete the short Planning & Feedback Form by the deadline (Friday May 6). Must be US citizen or permanent resident to receive a stipend; however, others are welcome to participate without compensation.


Participants will:

  • Identify needed TA skills to implement interactive, data-rich, and/or societally-focused teaching activities (ex. those from collections such as GETSI, InTeGrate, and EDDIE).
  • Develop a plan for supporting TAs at least one professional skill related to interactive, data-rich, or societally-focused teaching.
  • Recognize the critical role TAs have in departmental recruitment, retention, and diversity.
  • Reflect on existing support for TAs at their institution and identify places of need.



Beth Pratt-Sitaula - prattsitaula AT

*Must be US citizen or permanent resident to receive a stipend; however others are welcome to participate without compensation.
Stipends will be sent out in the month after the short course.

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