About Orientation

Where is the Teaching Orientation?

The Teaching Orientation is held on The Ohio State University campus. Sessions are held in Enarson Classroom Building, Mershon Auditorium, Ohio Union, and Independence Hall. For more information about building locations, click here.

When is the Teaching Orientation?

The orientation is traditionally held the Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday, and Thursday before classes start in Autumn. In 2019, the orientation will be Tuesday, August 13 through Thursday, August 15. The first session begins on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m.

Who is the Teaching Orientation for?

The orientation 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 here 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 will now be 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.

Who will my fellow participants be?

There are generally around 500-600 participants in the Teaching Orientation across 50-60 departments, coming from a diverse array of backgrounds. In 2018, roughly 50% of the participants had taught before, either in a college setting or elsewhere, while the other participants had no former teaching experience. About 30% of participants were international students. The GTAs who come through the Teaching Orientation teach in a broad variety of teaching contexts and programs across the university.

One of the most unique and perhaps rewarding aspects of the orientation is that you will spend the majority of the two-day Introduction to Teaching and Learning sequence with the same small group of people (about 15-30 people). These small groups will be made up of people who are in the same teaching context as you, and they will generally be from departments similar to your own.

Is the Teaching Orientation for new faculty?

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 the faculty orientation, but you may supplement that orientation with sessions from ours if you so choose.

Who sponsors the Teaching Orientation?

The Teaching Orientation is planned and sponsored by the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT). UCAT is a comprehensive resource for all who teach at Ohio State. Read more about what we do here.

How much does it cost to attend the Teaching Orientation?

Nothing! The Teaching Orientation is completely free to participants.

Structure & Organization

What is the structure of the Teaching Orientation schedule?

The Teaching Orientation is held over a three-day period. It begins with a two-part sequence called Introduction to Teaching and Learning, which spans from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning. GTAs who will be primarily serving as graders for another professor may attend a targeted version of this training called Teaching as a Grader, which is held Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday afternoon, we offer a panel on important university policies and procedures, such as academic misconduct and working with students who have disabilities. Following the panel, you may attend the Teaching Resource Fair, at which you can connect with offices from across campus that may help you succeed in your teaching assignment.

On Thursday, we offer four blocks of concurrent sessions that cover a variety of teaching-related issues. For more detailed information about the schedule and content of the sessions, visit our agenda & session descriptions page.

Will I learn about what I’m supposed to teach?

The Teaching Orientation is geared more toward how to teach, rather than what to teach. An orientation, mentorship, or other guidance from your department should provide you with more information about what to teach.

What will the Teaching Orientation teach me?

The orientation is meant to help you prepare for your teaching assignment. In the Introduction to Teaching and Learning sessions and Teaching as a Grader, you will learn more about how to plan for the first day of class, relate to your students, set class goals, and engage students in learning. You will even have an opportunity to practice teaching in a low-pressure situation. On the third day of orientation, you may choose from workshops geared toward specific aspects of teaching, such as grading, facilitating discussion, and being an international GTA.

Why should I attend?

The Teaching Orientation can help you to be more prepared for and more confident about your teaching assignment. The orientation will help prepare you for your teaching experience in a thorough, comprehensive way and encourage you to look below the surface of your teaching assignment to see the difference you can make in students’ lives. It also gives you some insight into the official university policies and procedures related to teaching, which many participants find to be one of the most beneficial parts of the orientation.

Because The Ohio State University recognizes the importance of this sort of preparation, all new GTAs are required by the university to complete a teaching orientation or training that meets certain requirements, whether it be in your department, at the university-wide Teaching Orientation, or in a combination of both. The university’s requirements for GTA preparation can be read here.

To read feedback from past participants, click here.

Who facilitates the Teaching Orientation?

Experienced GTAs are the primary facilitators of the Teaching Orientation. Some sessions are facilitated by university staff members or co-facilitated by faculty members.


How do I register?

Click the “Registration” link in the menu. Registration will open June 4.

Do I need to register if my department already submitted my name?

Yes. You still need to fill out the registration form. You will not be registered if you do not fill out this form.

How do I know which sessions are appropriate for me?

If you received an email from us with schedule requirements/recommendations, those sessions were hand-selected by your department as the ones that would most closely meet your needs. If you did not receive an email, we suggest contacting your teaching department to ask for their recommendations. Alternatively, our consultants would be happy to meet with you to determine the best schedule for you. Contact us if you would like to set up an appointment.

What do “Required,” “Recommended,” “Optional,” and “Do Not Register” mean?

Each of these terms reflect your department’s requirements or recommendations for your orientation schedule.

Required: Your department is requiring you to register for any sessions marked “Required.” When you get to the registration form, consult your email and be sure to register for any sessions marked “Required.”

Recommended: These are sessions your department suggests you attend. They are probably most closely related to your teaching assignment. However, they are not required.

Optional: Your department wanted you to know these sessions were available to you and recognizes their importance. However, your department does not indicate a preference for whether or not you attend.

Do Not Register: Your department has asked that you do not register for this session. Usually, this means your department has something else for you to do during that time. You should contact your department to determine your departmental orientation or training schedule.

What is a “teaching context”? Why do I have to choose one?

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

It is important that you determine the context in which you will be teaching before you register because it will help us put you in the appropriate Introduction to Teaching and Learning session. These sessions are designed to address the kinds of teaching concerns that are most likely to arise for particular kinds of teaching. By signing up for a particular teaching context, you make sure that you will learn the skills most applicable to your own teaching experience.

How do I know which teaching context to register for?

You may already have some idea of what your role will be as a teacher. If you know the kind of teaching that you will be doing, but you don’t know which context to sign up for, click here to read descriptions of the various kinds of teaching contexts. If you’re not sure what kind of teaching you will be doing, contact your department. Even if they don’t yet know exactly what class you will be assigned to, they are likely to know what kind of teaching you will be doing.

What if I sign up for the wrong teaching context?

If you find out you registered for the wrong teaching context, contact us as soon as possible to alert us of the change.

What does “Open Choice” mean?

“Open choice” means that your department would like to register for something of your personal choosing during that time slot.

Do I have to attend all 3 days?

You only have to attend what your department has required you to. Please do note, though, that if you sign up for Introduction to Teaching and Learning, you must attend all three parts of the workshop — the overview and Part I on Tuesday, and Part II on Wednesday. This will be reflected in your schedule.

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

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

I can’t come, but I’m required to attend. What should I do?

Contact your department. UCAT does not determine who is or is not required attend; that is up to the departments. Your department may make alternate arrangements for you to receive the training you need.

I can’t come and I’m not required to attend. Can I get alternate training in teaching?

UCAT offers workshops (some of which are repeated from the Teaching Orientation) and consultations all year long! We encourage you to browse our website to discover all the ways we can help you excel in your teaching endeavors. If you are interested in materials from particular Teaching Orientation sessions, please contact us.

I missed registration. May I still attend orientation?

Yes, you may. We have walk-in registration available in room 214 of Enarson Classroom Building between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13 at which you may register for any sessions in which there are still open seats. Please find out your departmental requirements and review our session descriptions ahead of time so you know for which sessions you would like to register when you arrive.

I don’t have my OSU email address yet. May I still register?

Yes, you may use an alternate email address. However, it makes the registration process much simpler for us if you use your OSU email address, so please find it out ahead of time, if possible. You might try searching for your name in our university directory. For more information about OSU email addresses, visit the OCIO website.


What if I see “No Session Scheduled” in a particular time block on my schedule?

This means that you are not scheduled for anything during that time block, usually because you did not register for it or because the session was full by the time you submitted your registration form. In some cases, participants accidentally register for sessions marked “Do Not Register” on their email invitations. In those situations, we catch this error and purposely leave them out of those sessions because their departments requested they not attend. If you would like to attend a session for which you are not registered, and you have no departmental conflicts, you may follow the walk-in registration procedure.

I am going to be a Grader. Why don’t I have anything scheduled for Tuesday?

“Teaching as a Grader” is only a one-day workshop. Graders are invited to attend the Welcome Session, but they are not required to be there.

How will I get my schedule?

We will email out schedules by August 5, so please check your email! Your schedule will list the times and locations of each session for which you are registered. You must bring your schedule with you to the orientation. We will not have printouts of your schedule there.

At Orientation

Will there be food?

We do not serve meals at the Teaching Orientation. However, you may feel free to bring in snacks or drinks, and there will be ample time for lunch on Wednesday and Thursday. You will be provided with a map and list of local eateries at the orientation, and you may also click here for dining options (but be sure to check hours of operation). We will serve refreshments at the Teaching Resource Fair on Wednesday afternoon.

How should I dress?

Please feel free to dress casually and comfortably. We recommend wearing layers because the temperature of the buildings can vary.

Where should I park?

If you are driving to campus, we recommend parking in the Tuttle Park Place parking garage.

What should I bring with me?

You should bring a copy of your schedule and pen. You may also want to bring an umbrella and funds to purchase lunch.