10 Things I Love About GATAcademy

On August 22, 2014, in Announcements, Being a GA/TA, GATAcademy, by gregorynpaziuk

This post was originally posted in August 2013. Don’t forget to register for GATAcademy 2014!

Greg here. Just contemplating the upcoming GATAcademy festivities and reminiscing a little. It’s hard to believe that this will be my third fourth time attending this event. Part of me feels old, but mostly I feel fortunate to be part of something so worthwhile. I thought I’d share with you the ten things I love most about GATAcademy, in no particular order. Enjoy!

1.) The Buttons – Over the last few years, the GATA Network has put together some world-class buttons. A lot of these buttons have been made with the help of GAs and TAs like you, especially through our contest last fall. And who doesn’t appreciate a good button?

2.) Seeing New Tech In Action – The presenters at GATAcademy know their way around a computer console. The first time I taught, I had to have a student show me how to work the equipment in my room. Had I spent more time in workshops on teaching with technology, I might have saved a little face.

3.) The Free Food – Because I’m human. Also because a lunch break at a personal/professional development event with 200+ potential colleagues is the most massive business lunch/networking exercise I’ve ever heard of.

4.) The Icebreakers – Frankly, before my first GATAcademy, I didn’t know there were so many creative ways to introduce people to each other. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t used some of the icebreakers I learned from GATAcademy in my own courses.

5.) The Q&A (&Q&Q&Q…) – Remember that time in class when you didn’t understand the problem on the blackboard but didn’t want to be the one to ask for clarification? And remember how good it felt when someone else asked the question instead, and you realized you weren’t the only one who didn’t understand? I can’t count how many times this scenario played out at the first GATAcademy I attended.

6.) The Variety – This is something I hate-to-love because it makes choosing just one workshop per session so difficult. It’s nice to see workshops that cover everything from assessment to how to handle conflict in the classroom (because let’s none of us pretend we haven’t dreaded the confrontation with an unhappy student). It helps to bring a buddy (or make a friend) who can attend the workshops you miss so that you can compare notes.

7.) The Collective Sigh – It never fails that the tension and anxiety that is palpable from the moment participants walk in the doors in the morning gradually subsides over the course of the day. Nine times out of ten, students leave GATAcademy more confident than when they arrived. I know because I’ve been one of the nine.

8.) The Connections – Before I attended GATAcademy, I had no idea about what sorts of resources were available to GAs and TAs. My department and my advisor did an excellent job of providing me the basics of what to do and how to do it, but GATAcademy introduced me to groups like the Centre for Teaching and Learning and the GATA Network. It helps to have a whole arsenal of resources at your disposal to prepare you for every possibility.

9.) The Handouts – These have become my unofficial textbook to teaching. Everything I’ve been given from GATAcademy over the years is kept in a folder that I revisit regularly.

10.) Making New Friends – Sometimes being a grad student can feel like being the last of your kind in a zoo on a distant planet galaxies away from home. Don’t underestimate the importance of making new friends.




The lineup of workshops for GATAcademy 2014 has been released, registration is open, and so starts the difficult task of figuring out just which workshops to attend.

GATAcademy 2014 PCWhen Is GATAcademy?

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014, 9:00am-2:30pm. Workshops commence in three time slots: 9:00, 10:45, and 1:00. This means you can register for just one workshop or register for workshops throughout the day.

Where Does It Take Place?

Participants will spend their day in the lovely Erie Hall and Lambton Tower. These just so happen to be the homes of the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Open Learning, and the Teaching and Learning Technologies team, so think of this as an opportunity to familiarize yourself with all three services.

What IS GATAcademy, Anyway?

The scoop on GATAcademy is that it’s a full-day professional development event for graduate assistants (GAs) and teaching assistants (TAs). That means a full day of workshops designed to help you improve as a teacher, a professional, and a person (not that we’re saying you need it). GATAcademy is an opportunity for new and returning GA/TAs – and really just anyone interested in teaching and learning – to ask questions, share strategies, and hopefully gain the type of clarity and confidence that squashes all those nagging fears we have as educators.

Gatacademy2014-11x17This year’s facilitators are a diverse group of experienced GAs, TAs, staff, and instructors from departments all over campus. GATAcademy is also a great opportunity to meet other GAs/TAs, connect with teaching and learning professionals, share your experiences, ask questions, and form your own support network.

Find out more about the exciting workshops offered this year and their facilitators by visiting the registration site at  http://cleo.uwindsor.ca/workshops/76/. A brief preview of titles is included below. You’ll notice a good mix of returning favourites – such as Effective Explanations and Teaching With Stats and Data – and meaningful new topics – such as Academic Integrity and Life as an Online or Blended Course GA/TA.

  • Effective Explanations with Michael K. Potter
  • Professional Practice: Understanding Issues in Professionalism for the 21st Century with John Antoniw, Ruxandra Nahaiciuc, and Natasha Obradovich
  • The First Day with Phil Graniero
  • Teaching in the Multicultural Classroom with Enrique Chacón
  • Teaching With Technology – The Fun, the Cool, and the Efficient Stuff… with Lorna Stolarchuk, Alicia Higgison, and Adam Wright
  • Grading and Feedback with Allyson Skene
  • Academic Integrity with Joanna Marzec
  • Providing an Effective Lab Experience with Julie Smit, Sarah Lehnert, and Kyle Wellband
  • Teaching With Stats and Data: Tools, Tips, and Tricks with Kristi Thompson and Dan Edelstein
  • Publishing, Copyright, and Open Access with Dave Johnston
  • Life as an Online or Blended Course GA/TA: Navigating the Technology Minefield with Nick Baker
  • Active Learning: Effective Tutorials and Dynamic Discussions with Beth Kuhn

Why You Should Care

Here’s the kicker…there is no cost to participate for UWindsor students and you don’t have to be a current GA/TA to participate. Think of it as a friendly crash course / training camp / support group with a FREE lunch.

How You Can Participate

These workshops tend to fill up fast, so register today by visiting  http://cleo.uwindsor.ca/workshops/76/.

This is also your chance to register for the FREE lunch. Once you have, be sure to email Marilyn at ctlworkshops@uwindsor.ca with any allergies or dietary needs (no later than 12:00 pm on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014).


Summer Series 2014

On August 5, 2014, in UWindsor, Workshops/Courses, by gregorynpaziuk

The Centre for Teaching and Learning’s annual Summer Series on Teaching and Learning (August 12th – 14th) is very nearly upon us, but there is still time to register for one of its many promising workshops. Check out the descriptions below and head to the registration page to reserve your spot.

What is it About Teaching…?

Schedule: Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 01:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Location: Erie G141
Instructors: Andrew Allen, David Andrews, Judy Bornais, Kenneth Cramer,Maureen Gowing, Zbigniew Pasek, Chitra Rangan
There will be two Lightning Rounds: two series of fast presentations on how Teaching Leadership Chairs support teaching and and an opportunity to share their insights into teaching and learning. Each round will see each chair go head-to-head for about 6 minutes each, just enough time to share the most interesting of ideas.

Preparing Your Course With Alignment in Mind

Schedule: Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 09:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Erie G141
Instructors: Lorna de Witt
We will introduce some guiding principles to achieve alignment: a way of coordinating assessment, learning outcomes, and teaching methods with the aim of engaging our students. We will look at how to design a course syllabus/outline and how to design lessons and activities that encourage engagement. You will have a chance to examine intentional lesson planning and use of learning outcomes to enhance teaching, and student learning.

Getting Ready for Your Semester: The First Day and Beyond

Schedule: Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 09:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Erie G137A
Instructors: Richard Caron
“Here’s your textbook, see you next class!” What else can an instructor do to set the stage for an engaging, well organized course? This interactive session will explore student engagement and setting the tone in the first class. We will introduce some simple steps to begin preparation and the countdown to teaching.

Teaching With Groups

Schedule: Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 01:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Location: Erie G137A
Instructors: Jacqueline Stagner
This workshop will lead participants through various activities that have been used to prepare students for and guide them through working on a semester-long team project in their first-year Engineering Technical Communications course. Throughout the workshop, “lessons learned” tips and comments will be provided. Participants will be encouraged to participate in these activities and to share their own experiences using projects and group work within the classroom.


Schedule: Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 01:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Location: Erie G141
Instructors: Brenda McLaughlin
Assessment drives student learning in many ways. How can you assess effectively? This introduction to assessment will explore best practices, including alignment with learning outcomes. A variety of assessment methods will be discussed, such as authentic assessment, self, peer, and group assessment.

Teaching With Gadgets: Educational Technologies Discussion and Demonstration

Schedule: Thursday, August 14, 2014, 09:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: Erie Basement Studio B
Instructors: Nick Baker, Terry Collins, Graham Fawcett, Peter Freele, Tory James, Stephanie Parent, Jonathan Sinasac

During this session, participants will take part in roundtable discussions led by CTL Technologies staff. Topics will include the use of:

  • CLEW and Blackboard systems
  • Classroom technologies
  • Echo 360
  • Digital Imaging – video and still photography
  • Collaboration
  • Service Request System



Staying Informed With WISEL

On August 1, 2014, in Tools, UWindsor, We Made It: It's Friday, by gregorynpaziuk

If our Friday blogs achieve anything at all, they should help you have fun. That’s why we’ve decided to dedicate this Friday’s blog post to the Windsor International Student Email List (WISEL).

Started some time ago by our friends at the UWindsor International Student Centre (ISC), the WISEL listserv keeps UWindsor students informed about anything and everything going on at UWindsor – both at the ISC and around campus. Despite its name, the list is open to all students, not just international students. The Network joined the list a while back and quickly discovered its benefits.

MRW I read all the different Game of Thrones theories

Well, here is a preview of the type updates we regularly receive from WISEL:

“Free Drop-In Resume Clinic TODAY”

“French Conversation Group TRY SOME FOOD”


“Ping Pong Tournament”

So, let’s review: free advice, free food, and free fun? WISEL sends you updates on all three. We’re always going on and on about the well-rounded academic life here on the blog, but the folks at WISEL are living it. For that, we thank them.