Student writing

ENGRG 6780

ENGRG 6780 is an optional component of the Engineering TA Development Program and is highly recommended for those considering a career in academia or for those who are simply interested in improving their teaching. Course offered next in Spring 2023. To register, follow the online add/drop procedures.

Course Information

ENGRG 6780: Teaching Seminar #9057 (1.0 CR, S/U only). Prerequisite/Corequisite: Completion of Engineering TA Development Program. Enrollment limited to: Graduate students with a TA assignment in a College of Engineering course.


Reflection, the complex process of carefully thinking about one’s experiences, is a valuable resource for teachers. There are many different avenues for reflection, two of which are discussion and writing. First, formative discussions are shown to diagnostically alter teaching and learning, leading to improved student success. They help teachers become aware of any gaps that exist between their desired teaching goal and their current knowledge, understanding, or skill and guide them through actions necessary to obtain the goal. Second, reflective journal writing offers teachers an opportunity to process their understanding of teaching and learning through the formulation of questions, concepts, and theories related to their experiences. By keeping a detailed log of specific teaching experiences, one can make informed changes and reflections on teaching styles through observations of certain pitfalls, procedures, and payoffs. The aim is to upgrade the teacher’s skills, increase teaching standards, and improve student-learning outcomes. Through formative discussion and reflective writing, the art of teaching is truly experienced and becomes a reality.


Formative Discussion concerning your TA Midterm Evaluation

Upon completion of the TA Midterm Evaluation by the students, each TA will schedule one formal feedback session in order to foster self-reflection of his or her teaching style and promote progress in performance. Sessions will be scheduled with the associate director.

Reflective Journal on Teaching Experiences

The journal will be turned in for assessment at the end of the semester. A reflective journal should consist of three elements:

Initial Statement

  • What is my approach to instruction and what are my beliefs about learning?
  • What are my initial teaching goals for the semester?
  • What strategies do I hope to incorporate into my teaching?
  • What do I expect from myself? What do I expect from my students?

Weekly Journal Entries (a minimum of 10) to include:

  • What main events transpired that week? (highlights, special situations, mistakes, etc.)
  • What can I learn from these experiences? How can I use these learning experiences to improve?
  • What active and collaborative learning strategies did I incorporate?
  • Did I exhibit any sort of gender bias, socioeconomic discrimination, or cultural intolerance?
  • Are my students learning? How do I know?
  • Am I being fair to students in terms of grading, answering questions, and answering e-mail?
  • Am I progressing toward my teaching goals, as described in my initial statement?

Concluding Statement

  • How has my teaching philosophy changed since I started teaching?
  • What have I learned about my own teaching style from student feedback?
  • What are my main highlights and main downfalls?
  • Were my expectations from the initial statement met? How am I growing as a teacher?
  • What goals do I have for the future, and how can I incorporate them into my teaching?