Your Teaching Team
Like many graduate students, you may serve as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) during your graduate program, which allows you to develop and practice your teaching skills. Being a GTA is a wonderful opportunity, as it connects you deeply to your academic unit while making a positive impact on student learning. The Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) creates innovative educational opportunities and engages in scholarship to advance teaching and learning at the University of Guelph.
OTL Staff and Graduate Educational Developers run numerous instructional programs for graduate students that have been shown to help GTAs feel more confident and prepared as a teaching assistant. Two such programs are University Teaching Foundations and Graduate Student University Teaching Day.
University Teaching Foundations provides hands-on and community-based teaching development opportunities. This program introduces participants to evidence-informed strategies and ideas for learner-centred instructional development as well as for implementation in their reflective teaching practices.
Graduate Student University Teaching Day(s) (GSUTD) is a development program, held annually at the end of August, dedicated to teaching and learning for University of Guelph graduate students. This year, GSUTD was held entirely online and run over multiple days to reflect a change in format.
If you would like to be added to the Graduate Teaching Community listserv to receive up-to-date information about OTL’s programming for graduate students, or if you have any questions about the programming we offer, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd) creates innovative educational opportunities that meet the learning needs of a local and international audience. They are guided by learner-centred principles that are reflected in their diverse programs and rich learning experiences for traditional and lifelong learners. OpenEd administers all Distance Education (DE) courses to both registered students and those continuing their education outside a formal degree program. OpenEd intentionally integrates pedagogy with technology in the design, development and delivery of their educational programs. Through research and collaboration, they engage in scholarship to advance the teaching and learning mandate of the University.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that many courses, both undergraduate and graduate, will be delivered remotely in Fall 2020, OpenEd has developed an extensive set of resources for Remote Learning from the perspective of both students and instructors. These resources encourage thoughtful, purposeful design and redesign of course delivery modes, learning activities, and assessments, with an intentional approach to integrate educational technology. As you are likely to be both a student and a GTA during the first few semesters of your graduate program, you are encouraged to explore and make use of these extensive resources.
Many regular credit courses use CourseLink, the University of Guelph's Learning Management System (LMS), to complement lectures and labs, and all Distance Education (DE) courses are offered by OpenEd using this LMS. This Fall semester, all regular courses that are offered remotely will be accessed through Courselink, so you will need to become familiar with this software platform as both a student and a GTA.
To log in to CourseLink you will need your University central login ID and password. Any courses that you are actively enrolled in as a registered student or as a GTA will be accessible to you on the CourseLink homepage on the start date of the semester. Access to online courses ends two weeks after the last day of the scheduled exam period.
You can obtain assistance using Courselink as a student or a GTA through the OpenEd Courselink support webpage or from the company that provides this software platform, which is called Brightspace. For tips on becoming a successful online learner, explore the OpenEd student resources webpages.
GTA appointments also provide you with income. These appointments form part of the guaranteed funding package of some students while GTA appointments are offered to other students in addition to funding guaranteed by the graduate program. Students who are not receiving a guaranteed funding package are also eligible to apply for GTA positions. Ensure you know which scenario applies to you, This should be indicated in your offer of admission.
A full GTA unit requires you to work 140 hours during a semester, while a 0.5 unit requires 70 hours of work. When you accept your first GTA assignment, you will become a member of CUPE Local 3913, which is the union representing GTAs at the University of Guelph. Your membership in the Union lasts for 12 months after your last contract ends.
As a member of CUPE, you are entitled to protection under its Collective Agreement, which includes access to supplementary health benefits. You are encouraged to familiarize yourself with this Agreement to ensure you understand your rights and responsibilities as a GTA. Explore the CUPE webpage to discover all the resources that the union provides.
You are required to apply for GTA positions, even if they are part of your guaranteed funding package. You are encouraged to apply for more than one position as you may not be offered your first choice. Available positions are posted on the Academic Staff Work Assignment webpage, where you will also submit your application. More details about the GTA application process are available on the GTA application page. Questions about the specific qualifications required for a position, and details of the activities involved should be directed to the Graduate Program Assistant in the academic unit that posted the position.
An overview of the OTL is provided in the video below.