GTA Toolkit

GTA Toolkit is a series of monthly workshops offered throughout the fall and spring semesters, led by graduate students for graduate students. Workshops cover a range of topics meant to reinforce or deepen graduate students’ understanding of teaching and learning strategies that can be immediately applied to practice. These workshops are also an opportunity for graduate students to learn from each other and build community around a culture of teaching at Ohio State.

Who facilitates the workshops?

All GTA Toolkit workshops are developed and facilitated by Drake Institute Graduate Consultants, advanced graduate students at Ohio State who have demonstrated exemplary instruction and a commitment to advancing teaching and learning. Meet our Graduate Consultants:

Anne Van
Theresa Gillespie 


How do I attend?

GTA Toolkit workshops are advertised on the Drake Institute’s Events calendar and are tagged “GTA Toolkit.” Follow the link in the event listing to register through BuckeyeLearn. In order to maintain a collaborative and interactive learning environment, workshops are also limited to 30 participants.


What will I learn?

GTA Toolkit workshops consist of a wide range of teaching topics, from teaching fundamentals to professional development support. All workshops are relevant to a variety of disciplines and for graduate students in any teaching role (grader, recitation leader, lab/studio, independent instructor), in addition to graduate students who are not teaching yet but will be teaching in the future. Descriptions and learning outcomes from past workshops are outlined below:

GTA Toolkit: Student Feedback

Feedback on our teaching allows us to identify and solve problems with our teaching strategies, which makes collecting and analyzing feedback a crucial part of developing as a teacher. One important, but often underutilized, source of feedback is our students. In this workshop, participants will learn strategies for collecting high quality, useful feedback from their students. We will also practice interpreting, analyzing and prioritizing samples of student feedback, so that we are in a better position to use feedback to make specific changes to our teaching.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Articulate the value of learner-centered, goal-directed feedback for developing teaching
  2. Differentiate between formative and summative feedback and appreciate the purposes of each
  3. Choose strategies for collecting high-quality student feedback
  4. Interpret and analyze qualitative and quantitative student feedback

GTA Toolkit: Beginning Steps of Course Design

When you’re teaching a course you’ve never taught before, it can be challenging to know where to start — especially if you’re still fairly new to teaching. How do you make good decisions about which topics to cover, what to assign, or what to do in class?

This workshop will introduce participants to backward design, an approach to course design that focuses on producing student learning. Participants will have the chance to practice working through the first few steps of the backward design process — clarifying the goals they have for students and choosing assignments that are aligned with course goals — in an environment where they have the feedback and support of other graduate instructors at Ohio State.

Backward design is a flexible teaching tool that can be used to make a variety of teaching decisions (e.g., to design lab and recitation sections as well as independent courses). Graduate students teaching in any context are welcome to attend.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Articulate the benefits of using backward design to plan a course and summarize the steps of the backward design process
  2. Develop course goals and learning outcomes for a course and consider how to share them with students
  3. Design assessments that are aligned with course learning outcomes and goals

GTA Toolkit: Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment

Graduate student instructors at Ohio State are often responsible for teaching introductory courses in their disciplines, where students not only have diverse backgrounds and perspectives, but also vary considerably in their degrees of confidence and preparation for college level work. This makes developing inclusive teaching practices important for GTAs. In this workshop, we introduce the framework of Universal Design as a tool for designing courses where all students are welcome, valued and have opportunities to succeed. Participants will leave with concrete strategies for creating an inclusive learning environment.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Define inclusive teaching​
  2. Discuss how classroom diversity and inclusive teaching practices impact student learning​
  3. Understand the principles of Universal Design and how to apply them to your teaching
  4. Plan specific inclusive teaching strategies to try in your classroom this term

GTA Toolkit: Crafting a Teaching Portfolio and Teaching Statement

The process of identifying a personal philosophy of teaching and continuously examining it through teaching practice can foster professional and personal growth. In this workshop, you will learn how to construct and improve your teaching portfolio, with a particular focus on your teaching statement. You will also have the opportunity to begin developing your own teaching philosophy and practice sharing it with others. 

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Describe the purpose and components of teaching portfolios and teaching statements
  2. Structure a teaching statement around goals, methods, and assessment
  3. Identify strategies for constructing an excellent teaching portfolio and common problems to avoid

GTA Toolkit: Creating Meaningful Engagement in an Online Course

A major struggle associated with online teaching, either synchronously or asynchronously, is cultivating student engagement. Student engagement fluctuates due to a variety of factors, including the degree of support within the online learning community and student familiarity with online learning. In this collaborative workshop, we will explore principles of motivation and attention and apply them to online courses. Topics to be discussed include: maintaining an instructor presence, creating an online learning community, and creating engaging online discussions and course content.   

Learning Outcomes: 

  1. Understand the principles of motivation and attention that impact student learning
  2. Consider the importance of course goals and social connections for sustaining student engagement 
  3. Develop strategies for enhancing student motivation and attention through course design across teaching modalities