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Students Supporting Students: GATA Academy

GATAcademy is a project of the GATA Network, a distributed network supported jointly by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Centre for Teaching and Learning. Timed for the beginning of every Fall semester, GATAcademy is the University's largest event for graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants to explore opportunities for personal and professional development. In response to COVID-19, GATAcademy was modified to be held completely online and extended as a week-long event from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.

“Graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants are essential assets to the university culture, helping to foster connections and mediate the experience between students and instructors. They play a pivotal role in student success and student experience,” says Patti Weir, Dean of Graduate Studies. “I could not be more proud of the work the network does to support each other.”

There were over 450 unique registrants, including GA/TAs as well as those more broadly interested in teaching and learning. Workshops were recorded and will be made available to accommodate GAs/TAs across campus in their transition to supporting online teaching.

"Now, more than ever, our roles as GAs and TAs require the ability to be flexible and adjust to changing circumstances. The interest and turnout we've seen this year from students who are driven to learn and adapt to the demands of online learning have been encouraging," says Elizabeth Ismail, GATA Network Coordinator.

The following topics were included at GATAcademy 2020: 

  • Being a GA/TA Online
  • Using the Virtual Classroom
  • Supporting Teaching and Learning in the Blackboard Environment: Tips for GAs and TAs
  • Leading Effective Online Discussions
  • Running Effective Science Labs/Tutorials - Online and In-Person
  • Leading Effective Labs and Tutorials in Engineering
  • Planning Effective Lectures to Enhance Student Engagement
  • Do I belong? Recognizing and Managing Impostorism
  • Making the Grade as a GA/TA: Assessment and Feedback
  • Using your GA/TAship for Employment and Career Development

— Laura Chittle and Elizabeth Ismail