Graduate Teaching Orientation

Graduate Teaching Orientation (GTO) is designed as a foundational experience for graduate students in formal teaching roles at Ohio State. Orientation spans several days of immersion into teaching roles and evidence-based practices that support student learning.

The autumn 2022 Graduate Teaching Orientation will be held remotely via Carmen and Zoom and will include optional in-person components during the week of Aug. 15.

Participants explore what it means to be a Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA), how to prepare for the first days of classes, and resources available to GTAs through the Drake Institute and university partners. Workshops are led by experienced and award-winning GTAs and are designed to equip new GTAs with useful tools and suggestions that can be applied in the classroom. 

Topics covered include: cultivating your teaching identity, knowing your students, understanding your teaching context and role, setting student expectations, the relationship between teaching and learning, and obtaining and using feedback on teaching. 

You can access the schedule here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Graduate Teaching Orientation for?

GTO is intended for all graduate students who are new to teaching at Ohio State or to their particular assignments. This includes first-year GTAs (graduate teaching associates), GTAs who are not new to Ohio State but are teaching for the first time, or GTAs who have taught at Ohio State in a different context and are starting a new type of assignment (e.g., a former grader now teaching an independent course). Even if your teaching appointment does not start immediately, you are welcome to attend. You may also attend more than once.

Please note: While new faculty members are welcome to attend, the Office of Academic Affairs sponsors an orientation specifically for new faculty members. We encourage new faculty members to attend new faculty orientation, but you may supplement that orientation with sessions from ours if you so choose.

Who are my fellow participants?

There are generally around 500-600 participants each year across 50-60 departments, coming from a diverse array of backgrounds. GTAs teach in a broad variety of teaching contexts and programs across Ohio State.

Some of our participants in past years have shared that they valued orientation for the chance to meet other graduate students on campus. Orientation sessions are designed to be interactive and collaborative, giving graduate student instructors a chance to share their thoughts, ideas, and questions about teaching with their peers.​​​​​

What is the format of orientation this year?

GTO will be held remotely with some optional in-person components during the week of August 15 to 19.  It will comprise both a set of required, asynchronous modules (CarmenCanvas) and optional, synchronous (CarmenZoom) workshops. The content in CarmenCanvas includes an introduction to fundamental principles of teaching and opportunities to learn about teaching in different contexts. The optional Zoom sessions are offered Tuesday through Friday, and you can sign up for sessions that are of interest to you. Signs-ups will be available in the CarmenCanvas course. In-person components will be held Wednesday, Aug. 17. 

What is a "teaching context," and why do I have to choose one?

There are many different ways that instructors interact with students. You may teach in an independent course, or you may be one of several teachers working in a team. You may also teach in the studio, lab, or clinical setting, or work one-on-one with students in independent study courses.

Below are descriptions of each context. 

Independent: GTA is typically responsible for all aspects of the course, including detailing assignments, grading, and facilitating lessons. The syllabus may already be written and the GTA is expected to apply it, or the GTA may be expected to write and distribute the syllabus on their own or in collaboration with other GTAS and instructors.

Grader: GTA assists in grading for a class led by another instructor. GTA may also hold office hours to answer student questions.

Recitation: GTA leads a separate discussion session, often for a smaller number of students, which accompanies the lead instructor’s lecture. In these sessions, GTAs may clarify lectures or texts, work through examples, and design, give, and/or assess assignments, all while relating it to the course lecture material. Some departments at Ohio State refer to recitations as “discussion sections."

Lab: GTA supervises as students practice the application of disciplinary principles of information presented in lecture. Labs can involve examining preserved or live specimens, conducting experiments, or writing or applying computer programs to solve problems. If the lab includes a recitation-like portion, GTAs may clarify or augment lectures or texts, and design, give, and/or assess assignments, all while relating it to the course lecture material.

Studio: students are engaged in the practice and application of techniques for productions in art forms such as art, theatre, dance, and music. GTAs of studio classes may have responsibilities typical of recitation, lab, or independent courses.

I don't have an Ohio State email address yet. Can I still register?

Yes, you may use an alternate email address. However, it makes the registration process much simpler if you use your OSU email address. If you do not have an OSU email address yet, please check with your department or the Ohio State directory.

How do I register for Orientation?

I missed registration. Can I still attend GTO?

Yes, you may. Please contact us for more information. 

I registered for GTO but need to cancel. What should I do?

Please contact us and let us know if you cannot attend. If your department has required you to attend orientation, you should contact your department as welll to let them know you can’t be there. Your department may make alternate arrangements for you to receive the training you need.

How do I complete Orientation requirements?

You will be required to complete a set of curated modules for GTO in CarmenCanvas. As part of the work in the modules, you will submit a discussion post and complete a worksheet that guides you to reflect on concepts you learned in course and how you will apply what you learned in your own teaching practice. We also ask that you complete a brief survey at the end about your teaching context and a brief self-assessment of your work. All of these requirements need to be completed by Friday, Aug. 19, at 5 p.m. The Drake Institute will send lists of students who completed requirements to their respective departments the week of Aug. 22. 

What are some of the synchronous Zoom sessions that will be offered?

There are three types of optional, synchronous Zoom sessions: panels, teaching contexts, and teaching topics. This year, we will have panels on Online Teaching and International TA experiences.

Our teaching contexts sessions reflect the teaching contexts in which many will teach, such as: Independent Instruction, Recitation, Studio, Lab, and Recitation/Lab. The teaching context sessions are led by experienced GTAs and are opportunities to connect with others who will be teaching in similar contexts and ask questions specific to your teaching context.

The teaching topics sessions include: Facilitating Discussions, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) in Learning Environments, and Effective Presentation Skills.

We also have invited campus partners, such as Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), the Suicide Prevention Program, and the Office of Technology and Digital Innovation (OTDI) to facilitate GTO sessions. 

You can access the schedule here.

How do I sign up for the synchronous Zoom sessions?

Schedules and sign up will be available in the Carmen course when it goes live. 

Are the synchronous Zoom sessions required?

No. You may choose to attend as few or as many synchronous Zoom sessions as you wish. 

Graduate Teaching Orientation Facilitators

To help train new GTAs, the Drake Institute hires senior GTA facilitators to deliver the many sessions offered during GTO. If you would like to get involved, please contact us. This is a great opportunity to interact with other experienced GTAs and incoming instructors from around across the world. Facilitators are usually recruited during spring semester. 

Meet the 2022 GTO facilitators.


We are looking for GTAs who will have completed at least two terms of teaching at Ohio State by the end of the spring semester, and who are interested in helping new GTAs. Additionally, facilitators must anticipate being enrolled as a graduate student at Ohio State in autumn 2022.

The ideal applicant is someone who:

  • Enjoys the challenges of teaching.
  • Is reflective about his/her/their teaching.
  • Has the ability to think about teaching beyond his/her/their own experience.
  • Possesses effective oral communication skills.


Application (The 2022 application window has closed.) 

  1. Apply here by April 17.  
  2. Drake Institute staff will review applications and invite qualified applicants to participate in interviews in mid-May.
  3. Drake Institute staff will hire qualified candidates and assign them to one or multiple Graduate Teaching Orientation sessions based on their skills, experience and interests. You will be notified by early June whether or not you have been hired.