MIT BE TA-Training-2014

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(Day 1: Tuesday, August 26th in room 56-614)
(Day 2: Wednesday, August 27th in room 56-614)
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Revision as of 13:54, 25 July 2014



Welcome and Goals

Welcome to the 2014 Teaching Assistant (TA) training run by the Biological Engineering department at MIT!

Our goal these two days is to begin to prepare you for the challenges and rewards of teaching, and to introduce mentors and other resources for you to rely on this year. Whether you are currently excited or apprehensive (or anything in between) about TAing, we hope you will view it as an opportunity not just to make a difference in the lives of your students, but also to develop your own communication and management skills.

Putting time and effort into your TAship now will pay dividends later: managing UROPs in your lab, identifying and understanding different learning styles (your students', your peers', and your own), training and collaborating with peers, speaking and giving presentations at conferences, and dealing with industry colleagues' widely-varying backgrounds and expectations.

The BE department takes great pride in its commitment to both undergraduate and graduate teaching and learning. We also take your professional growth and development seriously - and we know you'll take your new role as educators and mentors equally seriously.


Day 1: Tuesday, August 26th in room 56-614

Time Event Speaker(s)
9:00-9:15 AM Coffee/light breakfast, pick up materials, mingle
9:15-9:30 AM What a TAship means in BE Doug Lauffenburger, department head
9:30-10:30 Lecture: training goals and introduction to TA role Shannon Hughes and Leona Samson
10:30-10:45 Recitation tips part I [MAYBE. Or cut and shift everything by 15 min.] Agi Stachowiak
10:45-11:00 Stretch/bathroom/coffee break
11:00-12:00 Team discussion: reflect on learning and teaching; chalkboard exercise Small groups
12:00-1:00 Meet/Q&A with TA mentors over lunch Small groups
1:00-1:45 Recitation tips part II, microteaching demonstration and practice feedback Rotem Gura, G
1:45-2:45 On effective teaching in diverse classrooms Agi Stachowiak (and interactive)
2:45-3:00 buffer time, wrap-up discussion, and confirm Day 2 plans

Day 2: Wednesday, August 27th in room 56-614

In groups of 3-5 people, you will participate in a practice teaching session ("microteaching"). Microteaching is required for students teaching lecture subjects. If you are a lab subject TA and want a chance to practice, please see us – we may have a few additional slots available.

Please sign up for a problem below by putting your name under the appropriate column. (Sample sign-ups are shown below as prb x, grp y.) Email an instructor for assistance if you have trouble signing up.

Within a group, each person should do a different problem. The problem statements can be found in the "handout" section below. This year we have also included the problem solutions (in a separate handout), so that you may focus your efforts on determining the best approach to teaching the material rather than double-checking the correctness of your answers.

Before your session on Wednesday, please read the following two links on effective observation and feedback during microteaching:

Problem # Problem topic Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5
1 Free energy and ATP hydrolysis prb 1, grp 2
2 Proton availability in a cell prb 2, grp 1
3 Protein-ligand binding parameters
4 Biologically relevant redox
5 Conformational entropy
6 Metabolic network adaptation
7 Protein mutant structure & thermodynamics
8 Interplay between reaction, convection, and diffusion
9 Three short answer, independent questions about fluid dynamics
10 Superposition approach for complex potentials
11 Short answer biomechanics questions, 1
12 Short answer biomechanics questions, 2

Groups for Team-Building and Microteaching Sessions

May change for 2014.

Group Classes Mentor(s) Participants
1 20.110, 20.111 Raven R (110), Simon G (111)
2 20.330, 20.310 Rotem G (330), Tu Nguyen (310)
3 20.320 Ryan K
4 20.380 and electives (G and UG) Georgia L (380), electives TBD
5 G core classes David F in absentia (420), Wes C and Nav R (430)
6 20.109 Kim D (Fall), Chris B (Spring)

Day 2 Schedule

Sessions likely led by Shannon H, Agi S, and Forest W.

Session Time Faculty Leader Group

Handouts and Links to Resources


Final versions will go here and hardcopies will be available at the session.

TA-Prof Meeting Framework
Microteaching introduction (PDF) ; Microteaching introduction (DOCX)
Microteaching problems (PDF)
Add micro teaching solutions
Feedback form (DOC); Feedback form (PDF)

Lecture slides/notes


Teaching Resources and Tools

Helping Students

Please do not hesitate to talk to the faculty member(s) teaching your subject if you encounter a student having unusual difficulties that you are not in a position to address. For your reference, some resources for students are listed below.

Taking Care of Yourself

Many of the student-centered resources above apply not just to your charges, but to you! A few particularly relevant ones are listed below.

Personal tools