Department of History TA Website

The stuff you need, where you can find it, when you need it.

Instructor: Tom Cramer

Office: Smith 206C
Office Hours: Wedneday 1-3

Announcements 2007-2008
Update: 27 June 2008

This site is now done. Finished. Complete.

Since the last update the Career Development pages have been developed (three additional web pages, 16 documents, and more than a dozen links), the Teaching Resources area has grown by three web pages covering diversity issues, academic misconduct, and a special page designed to give new TAs the basic knowledge and prep they need to walk into their first section with confidence (this added nine new documents to the site and a bunch more links).

The site, however, is not really finished. It is hoped and expected that it will continue to grow under the care and feeding of subsequent TAs and their lead TAs. Logical places for growth would be a navigation bar with a half dozen of the most important teaching links (CIDR, F.R.O.G, for example), history teaching links (sites that cater to those who teach history at the college level, like HNN's Teacher's Lounge, and the Center for History and the New Media), and then some field-, course-, and source-specific sites like History Matters, netSERF, and the ALA discussion of primary sources.) Another avenue might be course portfolios—secure online depositories of lesson plans, source materials (like images), quizzes and the like organized by course.

There are still some things to tweak—a classer start page for example—and the thing still needs a name. But that will be finished by next early next week.


Update: 19 June 2008--Best Practices Online

The Best Practices page—the work of Fall 2007's HIST 570 members—is now finished. It's eight linked pages carry critical abstracts of 49 articles on topics as diverse as generating section discussion, the value of Wikipedia, and rationales for teaching history. Each abstract is linked to the article.

Update: 18 June 2008—Syllabi pages completed

Almost all the course and, predominantly, section syllabi on file with the lead TA's office have now been posted. This totals 47 syllabi for 24 courses in four of the department's five major fields.

Syllabi page under construction—posted Feb. 1, 2008

The Section and Course Syllabi page is currently under construction and, as of this posting, contains basic information about how to develop and create syllabi as well as a template TAs could use as a starting point for their own section syllabi. Go check it out and let me know what you think.

Next up will be posting sample syllabi from the Lead TA files. There are about 40 of them—and each will require the drafting of a brief description and then posting and linking so that may take a little while.

In the meantime, if you have section or course syllabi you would like to contribute to this growing library of teaching resources, please send them to leadta@u.wash….

New Teaching Resources!—updated Jan. 24, 2008

The website greatly expanded today with the addition of five pages of teaching resources, representing more than 40 pages of tips and guides from other TAs and the archives of the Lead TA. You'll find contributions from Jason Shattuck, Betsy Crouch, Robert Cruikshank, and Mike Quinn among the most recent posts.

Please take a moment to check it out and give me some feedback (a post on the discussion board would be great). Contributions of your material are always welcome.

Here's a summary of what's been added:

Student Writing Guides—This page contains a collection writing guides for students in history courses.

Instructor Writing Resources—This page contains a number of teaching resources for effective writing instruction, feedback and assessment.

Grading Criteria and Rubrics—On this page you will find a variety of criteria and rubrics you can use to assess writing in history courses.

Grading Tools—Information and materials on this page are meant to provide course-level grading tools for instructors such as spreadsheet templates and conversion charts that convert numerical scores into the 4.0 scale.

Peer Review—Thinking about asking students to conduct peer reviews of written work? Check here for a variety of sample handouts and ideas you can use to provide your students with the frameworks they need to do effective peer reviews. Also includes information for instructors on how to integrate peer reviews in teaching.

Peer Review material—posted Jan. 24, 2008

Information about how to organize successful peer reviews in your classes and how to explain he process to students is now available from a link off the Teaching page (there is also a link at upper left on this page). These material feature guidelines prepared by Tom Cramer for a HIST 498C course he taught in Spring 2006.

Ta-Da!—posted Jan. 18, 2008

Here it is, unfinished, un-populated, and definitely under construction, but rather than keep it under wraps until everything is finished and polished, I decided to release the TA website as is. That way you can watch its development and offer your thoughts on its content and organization.

But you will find some content already and a discussion board where you can post your comments.

As it is planned right now, the core content of the site will be organized in three sections:

Teaching Resources. This section is designed to be the first stop when a TA needs practical, tactical solutions or suggestions in teaching a course or section. It will be a gateway to a variety of materials and resources aimed at making teaching easier and more effective. This is the place to find sample course and section syllabi, model exercises, grading rubrics, and links to campus resources on teaching, grading and academic integrity as well as links to select sources outside the university.

Pedagogy Library. The section is meant as a library of teaching resources and items that have a broader application than the resources founding in the Teaching Resources page--such as many of the readings from HIST 570. The division between this and the Teaching Resources page is blurry and there will likely be some overlap: you will find practical ideas that you can use in you courses here.

Career Development. This section is where you'll find resources and links to resources for professional development: how to put together teaching statements, teaching portfolios, cvs, and other things needed to get a teaching job.

A word about access: Right now the site is open to anyone with a UWNet ID; that will likely change to restrict it only to those in the history department. But, to do that, I need to create a Catalyst Group that contains everyone's UWNet ID—not a quick and easy task. Also, my thoughts is that should be an opt-in group so those interested should e-mail to leadta(a) and I'll be happy to add you to the list.

I did create a group for current (and some former TAs) and only the members of that group have access to the discussion board. I know the membership in the group is not as complete as it could be, but I don't have access to a list all the grad students in the department. If you are a graduate student in the history department, want access to the board, and can't get in, just send an email to leadta(a) and I'll be happy to add you to the list. There is no intention now to allow staff or faculty access to the discussion board. Note: I may use that group to send out e-mail updates about the site, so if you are on it and don't want to be, let me know that, too.

Discussion Board

Can't access the discussion board? Ask the Lead TA to add you to member list.

Website Objectives

This website is being designed with two primary goals: The first is to make teaching sections easier for TAs by providing useful and practical tools and resources. The second is to promote the development and improvement of teaching skills.

This is, in many ways, a collaborative venture: While this website is managed by the lead TA, that person needs input, feedback, and, critically, contributions of syllabi, lesson plans, pedagogical tools, and the like. In short, this website needs material that will make it easier for department TAs to teach sections and to insure that we don't lose the best practices of our peers and predecessors.

A project like this is evolutionary. It will grow and change and it is hoped that all TAs—and future TAs—will be involved, in a positive way, in making sure this website grows in ways that are useful to them, their peers, and colleagues.

Tim Wright, Lead TA, 2007-2008