Program for Instructional Excellence (PIE)

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the Program For instructional excellence

The Program for Instructional Excellence (PIE), a unit of The Graduate School strives to enrich the learning experience for undergraduate students at FSU by supporting the teaching efforts of graduate student teaching assistants through its various services. PIE offers professional development programs that create opportunities to foster a sense of collaboration and community among all graduate student teaching assistants, and any graduate student interested in learning best practices in teaching and learning while at FSU.

For more information about PIE please see our Informational Brochure.  

See below for more information about our upcoming Teaching Workshops, Conferences, Awards, TA Book Clubs, Recognition programs and more! 

Experienced TAs can apply to become PIE Associates and serve as a mentor for TAs in their own academic department and university-wide.

The Spring 2022 Biannual PIE Teaching Conference  

 This training is now closed. The next Biannual PIE Teaching Conference will take place in Fall 2022.

This Conference provides University-required TA training for categories 1-4 TA appointments, as per the attached University-wide TA standards.

This training will be provided by required Canvas modules and Zoom sessions. Please read below for more specifics regarding University-wide TA PIE Training Requirements for “Day 1” and “Day 2” of the Spring 2022 PIE Biannual Teaching Conference.

  • This Program for Instructional Excellence (PIE)-provided TA training takes place once each fall semester, and once each spring semester (not in the summer semesters). Please plan accordingly.

For simplicity’s sake, we have named this specific University-required TA training the PIE Biannual Teaching Conference. We hope this will lessen the previous confusion some had between this university-required TA training, and PIE’s other ongoing, year-round teaching workshops, trainings, and other teaching support services.

  •  (1) Spring 2022 Biannual PIE teaching Conference “Day 1” requirements of the PIE Biannual Teaching Conference will consist of:
    • Asynchronous Canvas modules that will need to be completed by January 22022 at 11:59pm (and will be available by 12/1/21) – these Canvas modules will be clearly noted by PIE as "Day 1" – Required Modules on the PIE Biannual Teaching Conference Canvas site.
    • Several synchronous Zoom sessions provided on Monday, January 3, 2022 – Zoom session registration link will be provided in the Canvas site portion of the training
  • (2) Spring 2022 Biannual PIE teaching Conference “Day 2” requirements of the PIE Biannual Teaching Conference will consist of:
    • Asynchronous Canvas modules that will need to be completed by January 22022 at 11:59pm (and will be available by 12/1/21) – these Canvas modules will be clearly noted by PIE as "Day 2" – Required Modules on the PIE Biannual Teaching Conference Canvas site
    • Several synchronous Zoom sessions provided on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 – Zoom session registration link will be in the Canvas site portion of the training
  •  TAs that need BOTH "day 1" and "Day 2" PIE training will need to complete PIE's:
    • Both #2 and #3 above.

 **PLEASE NOTE: Although the asynchronous Canvas site and pre-conference assignments will be made available to trainees by 12/1/2021, they are not required to be completed until the pre-conference assignment due date of January 2, 11:59 PM EST. The course site is simply made available in advance of the due date so that participants may view links to campus resources, become familiar with the training site, and work ahead ONLY if so desired."

It is the registrants’ responsibility to regularly check the email address they provide to PIE in the registration survey for important emails from PIE regarding Conference details and requirements.

 *PIE staff will be unavailable to answer questions or troubleshoot during the University holiday closure (December 24 through January 1).


Category 5 TA Training

This training is now closed. The next Category 5 TA training will take place in Fall 2022.

PIE’s Category 5 TA Training Deadlines (Category 5 TAs are TAs that assist for a graduate-level course, or co-listed course):

Completion Deadline:

      • Graduate students are highly encouraged to complete this asynchronous Canvas PIE Category 5 TA Training by Wednesday, 1/5/22, but absolutely MUST complete PIE’s Category 5 TA Training by Saturday, 1/8/22 (11:59pm).
      • Any graduate student that has not successfully completed the PIE Category 5 TA Training will not be allowed to be appointed as a Category 5 TA. (Note: Category 5 TAs also must have completed day 1 and day 2 of the PIE TA Training either in a previous semester, or in Spring 2022.)
  • The PIE Program will provide the Biannual Teaching Conference and the Category 5 TA Training in both spring and fall semesters, but NOT in summer semesters. Please plan accordingly.

PIE Coffee Hour & Teaching Workshop Series - Spring 2022


Save the dates! 


Date & Time: 1/19/22, 3:00-4:30 PM (Zoom)




Date & Time: 2/07/22, 3:00-4:30 PM (Zoom)




Date & Time: 2/08/22, 2:00-3:30 PM




Date & Time: 2/09/22, 2:00-3:30 PM




PIE Summer 2021 (Virtual) Course Design Boot Camp

Interested in working on your course design with instructional design professionals? Come to our (virtual) PIE Summer 2021 Bootcamp!*

In this interactive boot camp series, PIE will feature speakers from the FSU Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies program and the Office of Distance Learning. We will explore core aspects of good course design such as creating realistic learning objectives as your course foundation, setting up crucial Canvas course components, and engaging students with online activities/assessments. Topics will be applicable to face-to-face, hybrid, and fully online courses.

Dates: Tues. May 4, Thurs. May 6, Tues. May 11, Thurs. May 15 (all sessions via Zoom)

Times: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM for all dates


*You do not have to attend all sessions in order to be part of this event. You may attend as few or as many as you wish. 

Each Session's Specific Topics are as Follows: 

Tuesday, 5/04: Creating realistic, well-written learning objectives that align with your course (Speaker: Caity Kelly, M.S.).

Thursday, 5/06: Setting up a well-designed Canvas course site and evaluating course quality (Speaker: Caity Kelly, M.S.).

Tuesday, 5/11: Designing/facilitating engaging course activities (Speaker: Dr. Kerry Burner).

Thursday, 5/13: Designing/facilitating effective course assessments (Speaker: Dr. Kerry Burner)


See the information below for materials from the summer 2020 boot camp sessions

Week 2: Designing Activities and Assessments to Meet Your Course Objectives

Facilitator: Dr. Vanessa Dennen, Professor of Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies in the Department of Educational Psychology & Learning Systems, FSU

Day 1  (Tues. 7/21/20) Materials

Day 2  (Thur. 7/23/20) Materials

Week 1: Creating Realistic Course Objectives & Learning Outcomes & Setting up your Canvas Site 

Facilitator: Caity Kelly, M.S., Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies

Day 1  (Tues. 7/14/20) Materials

Day 2  (Thur. 7/16/20) Materials

Announcement of Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award Recipients 2020-2021


Click this link to meet the 2021 OTAA recipients. 


CLOSED: PIE Associate Application for the academic year 2021-2022

**The application for the academic year 2021-2022 is now closed. 

Brief Timeline

March 22, 2021: PIE Teaching Associate Assistantship Application opens

April 30, 2021, by 11:59 pm: Deadline for the submission of the 2021-2022 application

(Optional)  April 9, 2021, 3 to 4: 30 pm: Graduate Student Networking Event and PIE Associate Informational Session (Via Zoom, registration link will be open soon).  

Download the latest PIE Associate Brochure
Click the following link to get more information:


Spring 2021 Reading Group

The Spring 2021 PIE Reading Group is hosting weekly discussions of Edward W. Morris’ Learning the Hard Way: Masculinity, Place, and the Gender Gap in Education this March! This book contains a fascinating research-based analysis of gender, race and class and how each intersect and contribute to the “gender gap” in achievement in education. For three consecutive Fridays in March (3/5, 3/12, 3/19), we will meet via Zoom for guided discussions. Leslie Richardson of the FSU Center for the Advancement of Teaching will begin our discussion of the book’s first three chapters on Friday, March 5th. Director of the FSU Center for Academic Retention & Enhancement, DeOnte Brown, will continue with chapters four through six on Friday, March 12th. Dr. Sabrina L. Dickey, Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing, will complete our discussion of the final three chapters on Friday, March 19th! Please register as soon as possible to receive discussion materials in advance of each session to help guide you in your reading. We hope to see you there!

Sponsor: PIE’s Pedagogy Committee

Dates & times: Fridays, 3/5, 3/12, and 3/19: 10:30 am-noon (Via Zoom) 

Registration: Closed


Interested in becoming a TA? Check out PIE's conference presentation recording on the professional merits of being a TA in graduate school!

In this video, PIE staff and experienced TAs from diverse fields will provide an overview of the TA role such as defining the job, highlighting knowledge/skills/abilities needed for becoming a TA, and the professional merit of taking on this role in graduate school. This recording is taken from the Spring 2021 Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC).

PIE Coffee Hour & Teaching Workshop Series :

PIE workshops are geared toward fostering professional development in teaching across a wide range of topics. All workshops are currently offered virtually via Zoom.

*For information about past workshops and more details/presentation information about upcoming workshops, click here to be taken to our comprehensive workshop page. 

 Note: PIE Coffee Hour & Teaching Workshops are NOT part of the mandatory Biannual PIE Teaching Conference for TAs who need to complete the certification process. 

Biannual PIE Teaching Conference - Fall 2021

WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 18 & 19, 2021*(dates for Zoom sessions only-see details below)

See details and registration information below! Download the conference agenda here.

The event this year will once again be held fully online due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns. The training will consist of two separate portions:

  1.  The first portion of this training will be delivered asynchronously via Canvas, to be completed at one’s own pace by Tuesday, August 17th at 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time (EST), and 
  2. The second portion of this training will be provided via several synchronous Zoom training sessions on Wednesday, August 18th and Thursday, August 19th 2021 (see the conference agenda for exact times.)

The Biannual PIE Teaching Conference includes sessions that provide graduate students (and all participants) with teaching policy training requirements as stated in the current University-wide TA Standards along with best practices in grading, communicating with students, encouraging active learning and critical thinking, creating inclusive and equitable learning environments, and technology usage. By the end of this training, participants will be able to explain and have procedures in place to address University policy issues related to the Academic Honor Policy, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Discrimination-Sexual Harassment-Retaliation. Participants will also be equipped with strategies to help navigate use of Canvas features essential to their role as a TA, communicate effectively with students, and provide productive, inclusive and equitable student feedback.

Who should attend?

  • New graduate student TAs – a graduate student CANNOT hold a TA position UNLESS he or she satisfies the University-wide TA Standards, so be sure to review these carefully!
  • New graduate students who do not yet hold a TA assignment, but will likely do so in the future
  • Returning graduate students who have never attended PIE or a departmental equivalent, but who may teach in the future are also encouraged to attend
  • Post Docs
  • Faculty and staff are also welcome!

Where: Online (consisting of two portions: one portion of the training is provided asynchronously via Canvas, and the other portion of this training is provided synchronously via Zoom)

When: Portion 1. Canvas site asynchronous trainings: to be completed at own pace by Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at 11:59pm EST

Portion 2. Synchronous Zoom Trainings:

  • Wednesday & Thursday, August 18 & 19, 2021 (*Zoom training sessions on each day are distinct, i.e., Thursday is not a “repeat” of Wednesday)
    • Wednesday 8/18/21, 9-11:30am & 2-3:30pm EST - all sessions required (several synchronous Zoom training sessions will be provided on this day)
    • Thursday 8/19/21, 9am-12:30pm EST - all sessions required (several synchronous Zoom training sessions will be provided on this day)
 You may now register for the Fall 2021 training here:


Transitioning To Online Courses


As FSU transitions all courses to online format for the remainder of the Spring 2020, PIE will provide you with ongoing support, and links to resources that will assist you with this transition. Please visit our "resources" page for continuous updates.

Please also visit the FSU Office of Distance Learning (ODL) website for a wealth of information, including a step-by-step guidetrainings, and other resources to assist in this process:

*Visit the PIE Program’s new Canvas organizational site that serves to provide all FSU TAs the opportunity to find peer community and support while all face-to-face courses are moved to an online format for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester, and into at least a portion of the summer. Resources include:

1. Virtual office hours: TAs can connect via Zoom to PIE Teaching Associate TAs from a variety of disciplines to discuss challenges, brainstorm ideas, share tips, and receive referrals to additional resources to assist in the online teaching transition. See the vast schedule of “Peer Office Hours” on the site.

2. Video tutorials, discipline specific online teaching tips, and links to a variety of resources available at FSU and beyond, are also located on this site.

Please join - any TA can self-enroll in this Canvas site via this URL:

Resources from the Office of Distance Learning/PIE Emergency Online Training Proactive Training Course:

Check our "resources" page section frequently for continuing updated resources

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The PIE Association is now offering Peer Teaching Observations. If you would like constructive feedback from other teaching assistants on methods to use in the classroom, please reach out to us. Check out the following link for more information:


You can download the PIE Teaching Observation Form to learn about our peer observation criteria or use it to evaluate your own teaching.

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PIE Coffee Hour & Teaching Workshop Series (Face to Face iteration only)  

Come join fellow TAs and instructors discuss strategies and techniques that promote excellence in teaching and learning – bring your questions, concerns, and ideas – the pie & coffee will be provided!

These workshops also count towards the PFF and/or PFP Certificates , as well as the Advanced PIE Teaching Training Recognition .

*Please also note, The Office for Distance Learning (ODL) also offers workshops on teaching techniques & strategies that will assist with online teaching as well as face-to-face teaching.  To view and register for these workshops (which also count for PFF/PFP/PIE credit) visit:


PIE Associates and Graduate Students at the recent MCQ training


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PIE has designed a series of online teaching modules to provide a continuation of the Biannual PIE Teaching Conference. If you meet the specific requirements, you will earn the Advanced PIE Teaching Training Recognition.

How do I enroll in the training? Send an enrollment request email to , and we will enroll you in the training. You will receive a notification email once you are enrolled.

When is the deadline for enrollment? It is suggested that you enroll within the first two weeks of any semester (including summer). However there is no actual enrollment deadline, but please keep in mind that once you are enrolled, you have two consecutive semesters to complete ALL requirements to earn the Advanced PIE Teaching Training Recognition.

What content is covered? The online training series consists of six content units: Developing a course syllabus; Knowing your teaching environment; Using Blackboard for introduction; Planning teaching-learning activities; Student assessment; and Course evaluation and revision.

How much time will I spend? You are expected to spend one hour on reading, and two hours on practicing, each week for 14 weeks.

Are there other activities offered/requirements for completing this recognition? Yes, there will be at least three PIE Coffee Hour & Teaching Workshops held each semester (including the summer) at the The Honors, Scholars, and Fellows House. Topics related to the course content will be presented and discussed.To earn the Advanced PIE Teaching Training Recognition, you are required to successfully finish each of the online Modules for the Basics of Teaching @ FSU and attend at least two of these workshops.

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PIE coordinates the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards (OTAA). These awards recognize graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) for their distinguished contributions to undergraduate student learning through excellence in instruction. Recipients of the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards (OTAA) are recognized at the annual spring Celebration of Graduate Student Excellence event. Nominations for the 2020-2021 awards are now closed. The next award nomination cycle will open in fall of 2021. Undergraduate students, faculty and staff may nominate a graduate student teaching assistant (TA).

The deadline to nominate was Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 11:59pm.

For more details regarding the OTAA award and nomination process, please visit our webpage at:

Please click here to see the recipients of previous Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards.

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Reading groups are a great chance to meet and share ideas with graduate student colleagues from across the university. We’ll discuss great texts about teaching and learning, and generate practical ideas for enriching our own classroom practice. Each group involves a series of three meetings, so please check your calendar. We attempt to use books that are available online through FSU libraries.

Please keep visiting our website or follow us on our social media for Spring Reading Group information!



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PIE hosted its first SYLLABUS BOOT CAMP in 2017!

One of the most important steps you can take to have a successful semester is making time to think through your course objectives, learning outcomes, and course schedule design. Join us for 4 sessions over a two week period where you'll get advice from experts, time to work on your own syllabus, and a chance to swap feedback & ideas from your peers. Come prepared with either a course in development or a syllabus that needs a makeover.

Attendance is free, but space is limited. Before you sign up, please make sure you can attend all sessions.

Schedule -- 2017 Syllabus Boot Camp

Week 1: Creating Realistic Course Objectives & Learning Outcomes with Kate Hill, PIE Associate for the department of Biological Science
July 18th and 20th from 10:00am-2:00pm with an hour lunch break from 11:30am-12:30pm

Week 2: Designing a Schedule to Meet Your Course Objectives with Dr. Vanessa Dennen, professor of Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies

July 25th and 27th from 10:00am-2:00pm with an hour lunch break from 11:30am-12:30pm

Syllabus Boot Camp Flyer



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