Engineering Teaching Assistant Certification Workshop

This workshop provides opportunities to TAs for discussion, applying education theory to engineering content relevant to their area of study and learning from peers, experts and other academic professionals. The following sessions comprise the workshop:

Understanding Cockrell School Students and the Culture of Higher Education in the United States

  • Develop a better view of the Cockrell School and its students via qualitative and quantitative data
  • Develop a stronger understanding of the cultural norms of higher education in the United States

University Policies and Developing Professional Relationships with Students, Faculty and Staff

  • Build awareness of university policies that are relevant to working with students in a teaching environment
  • Learn how to handle difficult or challenging situations when working with students, faculty and staff

Fundamentals of Engineering Education

  • Understand Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning and its applicability to engineering education practice
  • Develop effective questioning strategies to engage students and extend their thinking
  • Understand different learning styles, working with adult learners
  • Develop instructional plans and strategies for assessing student learning

Principles of Student Success in Engineering

  • Develop an expanded view of what it means to be a successful engineering student, i.e. understand how student beliefs, mindsets and behaviors play a critical role in student success
  • Identify strategies, based on recent research in educational psychology, to help struggling students succeed in engineering

Faculty Perspectives on Teaching Engineering

  • Gain insight from engineering faculty about their teaching philosophies and approaches for creating engaging learning environments for their students

Managing the Responsibilities of Being a Teaching Assistant

  • Develop effective techniques for classroom and laboratory management
  • Learn how to foster a classroom/lab environment that is conducive to learning, risk taking and engagement
  • Setting up and conducting office hours to maximize student benefit
  • Practical approaches to grading, such as rubrics and their benefits

Working with Learning Management Systems

  • Become familiar with the features and capabilities of the Canvas learning management system
  • Learn how to get further training and support in using Canvas to manage TA responsibilities and work more effectively with students and faculty

Developing Student Surveys for Improving Teaching Effectiveness

  • Developing and administrating surveys using Qualtrics or Canvas
  • Creating survey questions that provide “actionable” feedback
  • Interpreting student survey results

"The TA training program not only helped me to develop my communications skills in a more active way, it also helped me to see the problems from a student's point of view, which improved my presentation skills. I am glad that we had such great training, and I hope the program continues for every new TA."

— Murat Karatas, certified teaching assistant, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

"In May 2013, I was still a fourth-year engineering student. In August 2013, I became an instructor for both third- and fourth-year engineering students — the TA training program smoothed this quick jump for me."

— Zeina Sinno, certified teaching assistant, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

"UT Austin places great emphasis on the integration of graduate students in the teaching process, and the Cockrell School's TA training program proves it. With its core and elective modules, along with microteaching sessions, the program turns the training process into an entertaining and valuable experience"

—Utku Eren, certified teaching assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering

"The new TA training program was a unique way to gain insight on the important issues associated with higher education. Connecting with peers and learning from the teaching experience of instructors was an invaluable way to prepare for a career in academia."

— Jack Bringardner, certified teaching assistant, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Thomas J. Connolly, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer, Director of Graduate Student Professional Development Program
Contact Dr. Connolly