Block 3 Session Descriptions and Presenter Bios

Below is a description of all Block 3 sessions, as well as a short bio of each presenter.
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Canvas 3  |  Tips & Tricks

Canvas 3 (Concurrent Session Block 3 – 1:50 – 2:50)

Session Description and Learning Objectives

Full Session Description and Resources are available here
This third Canvas session will prepare participants to teach more effectively using the following Canvas strategies and tools:

  • Managing your grading work with the To Do list
  • Dividing grading work with other course TAs
  • Effectively marking missing work in the gradebook
  • Posting/hiding grades
  • Arranging columns in Gradebook
  • Assigning extra credit
  • Updating & replacing course files
  • Understanding course size limits
  • Validating links in your course
  • Recovering deleted material
  • Changing all assignment dates for a class on one page
  • Messaging students through Gradebook and Analytics
  • And more

Presenter  |  Kathy Pinkowsky

Kathy Pinkowsky comes to the College of Letters and Science with a background in instructional technology, curriculum design, software training, usability/accessibility, and technical writing. Kathy holds a B.A. in English from Western Illinois University and an M.A. in Instructional Technology from Alverno College. In Kathy’s previous job roles, she was a senior technical writer for a software company, a supervisor of the Web and Technology group at Assurant Health, and most recently, the manager of the Instructional Technology Department at Alverno College. Throughout her career, Kathy has focused on integrating technology with teaching and learning. Kathy Pinkowsky

Teaching the Diverse and Non-Traditional Student Body

Teaching Focus 5 (Concurrent Session Block 3 – 1:50 – 2:50 pm)

Session Description and Learning Objectives

This session will survey the UWM student and discuss crucial aspects of student-teacher interaction. Teaching assistants face the challenge of a new class each semester, and for those who are new to teaching, new to the US educational system, or long absent from academia, these challenges may seem far worse than what they are. Even experienced teaching assistants face the challenge of an evolving student body. This session prepares teaching assistants for their first day by introducing the students they will be working with, as well as discussion of strategies on how to successfully teach contemporary UWM students.

Designed for new teaching assistants, teaching assistants who have not before taught at UWM, not gone through US K-12 school system, or would just like a refresher.

By the end of this session, attendees will have:

  • A general understanding of the diverse UWM student body,
  • Situational awareness of challenges students might face during their academic efforts,
  • Essential concepts to build their brand of pedagogy,
  • Understanding how to successfully interact with students on their first day as a teaching assistant.

Presenter  |  Telemachos Agoudemos

Telemachos is a first generation Greek American and is the oldest son of Greek immigrants. He served in the US Army as a Signal Support Systems Specialist, having served with the 2-52 Aviation at Camp Humphreys, Korea and with the 82nd Airborne (DIVARTY) at Ft. Bragg, NC. After some time in industry, he returned to school to focus on scholarly efforts. He currently has his BSc from UWM, double majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Physics with honors. He also has his Associates of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC), having graduated with honors. While at WCTC, he took part in NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program.

Currently he attends UWM for his master’s in mechanical engineering. Telemachos current research involves electrification as well as additional research viscoelectrification. As an undergraduate, he took part of NANOGrav’s Student Teams of Astrophysics Researchers (STARS) program, took part of UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences Water SYStem Program, and was awarded two Support for Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) at UWM.

He lives in Big Bend, WI and is married to his wife Amanda, with 2 young adult daughters that are both attending post-secondary schools, and a young daughter who starts 1st grade this year. He enjoys spending time with family, visiting relatives in Greece, and would like to take up sailing one day.

Telemachos Agoudemos

I Don’t Understand!
The Importance of Clear Communication in Instruction

Teaching Focus 6 (Concurrent Session Block 3 – 1:50 – 2:50 pm)

Session Description and Learning Objectives

In this session we will discuss the problems arising from unclear instruction, and strategies you can employ to foster better communication in the classroom. Clear communication is vital in education: it improves student learning, course engagement, and learning outcomes. New teaching assistants must be prepared to evaluate and adjust how they communicate, teach, and interact with students to ensure they are communicating effectively.

In this interactive session, attendees will learn multiple strategies to improve communication that can be integrated into any discipline. Attendees will come away from this session better prepared for the challenges of undergraduate instruction by learning how to utilize, adapt, and evaluate methods of clear communication.

By the end of this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of clear communication in their new roles as Teaching Assistants.
  • Identify important qualities of clear communication in instruction.
  • Utilize different methods to achieve clear communication.
  • Evaluate and adapt methods to achieve clear communication.

Presenter  |  Navada Hessler

Navada Hessler is a TA-Lecturer and PhD candidate in the sociology department at UWM. Her research interests include sex and gender, social movements, deviance, and institutions. Navada is passionate about teaching and she believes in a compassionate approach to instruction based on the ethic of care. Navada has presented at UWM’s annual Teaching and Learning Symposium and she won her department’s teaching award for the 2022-2023 school year. When she graduates, Navada plans to pursue teaching at a 4-year university. Navada Hessler

Teaching Assistant Q&A

(Concurrent Session Block 3 – 1:50 – 2:50)

Session Description and Learning Objectives

Moderated by Sarah MacDonald (Teaching, Learning, and Technology Consultant, CETL)

Curious what your first semester of teaching at UW-Milwaukee will be like? Looking for some tips and tricks from experienced teaching assistants? Have a question, but just not sure to ask?

Attend this Q&A session to hear from experienced UW-Milwaukee teaching assistants as they share their best practices for new teaching assistants and take your questions about teaching, UW-Milwaukee, and balancing life and grad school.

This session features presenters from History, Freshwater Sciences, English, and Linguistics


  • Anna Rohl (History)
  • Andrew Westgate (School of Freshwater Sciences)
  • Danielle Harms (English)
  • Maaly Omary (Linguistics)

All sessions will be recorded

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