Info for Departments

For information on TA and Course Instructor Training, please read the Training Information for TAs and CIs_2019-20 document.

As per the 2018-2020 collective agreement between the University of Toronto and CUPE 3902 Unit 1, teaching assistants and Course Instructors who are members of Unit 1 and who will be teaching a course at the University for the very first time shall receive 4 hour and 6 hours of paid job training, respectively. In addition to the mandatory participation in training of 4 and 6 hours respectively, teaching assistants or Course Instructors can request additional training, up to 4 hours, for each subsequent appointment of 30 hours or more.

For teaching assistants, departments may choose to include the 4 hours of training within the teaching assistant’s total contract hours or on top of the total contract hours.  If departments choose to include the 4 hours of training within the TA’s contract hours, it must be outlined in the Description of Duties and Allocation of Hours form.  A copy of the form is available on the CUPE 3902 Unit 1 website at Departments should provide TAs with a copy of a completed version before their appointments begin.

For Course Instructors, the 6 hours of training is to be paid on top of the course stipend at the SGSII hourly rate (x 6 hours).

Departments have several options for making the training available to first-time teaching assistants and Course Instructors.

Training Options for TAs

Training Options for CIs

Tutorial Training Information


Training Options for First-time Teaching Assistants

Option #1: Departments can develop and deliver the entire 4-hour training session.

Option #2: TATP can develop and deliver a portion of the training in consultation with Departments. Please be advised that due to the expansion in training offerings triggered by the new tutorial training requirements, the TATP will not be able to accommodate requests for short talks or presentations during a department’s TA orientation.

Option #3: For departments with more than 10 TAs who require training, the TATP can develop and deliver the entire training session, from 1 – 4 hours. For more information, visit our Booking On-Site Training . If you have a group of 10 or fewer TAs who require training, they can attend our discipline-specific session for first-time TAs or attend our pedagogical workshops.  Visit our Job Training Days page and WORKSHOP PAGES (organized by campus) for information on upcoming sessions.

Option #4: If first contract TAs are unable to attend departmental training, the TATP’s central Job Training Days, or other TATP pedagogical workshops, they can complete online training modules. These online modules correspond to the tutorial categories and take 1 hour each to complete. Please consult the FAQ for Administrators for details (and direct TAs to the FAQ for Teaching Assistants to enrol).

If you prefer to talk to a representative on your campus – please see below for the appropriate campus contact.

St. George campus: Alli Diskin, CTSI/TATP Program Assistant, 416-978-2242 or

UTM campus: Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, 905-828-3858 or

UTSC campus: Sheryl Stevenson, Lecturer and Graduate Student Support Coordinator, Centre for Teaching and Learning or 416-287-7480 or

Training Options for First-time Course Instructors

Option #1: Department develops and delivers training session.

Option #2: Training delivered partly by the department, and partly through the TATP.

  • Departments can prepare an introductory 2-hour training session for their Course Instructors that is delivered in the department; Course Instructors can attend two additional 2-hour TATP/CTSI sessions to fulfill the 6-hour training requirement. These workshops, offered on a regular basis as part of our TATP workshop series, address a range of issues related to course development and delivery.

Option #3: Training delivered entirely through the TATP.

  • The TATP will offer a 6-hour Training Camp for Course Instructors. The training camp will cover course design and management (including tutorial design), syllabus design and effective assessment design.
  • CIs may choose six hours of workshops from the Workshop Series at TATP/CTSI. Only those workshops designated as approved for Course Instructor training will be certified for payment of training hours.

PLEASE NOTE: The TATP will not be developing and delivering customized workshops for first-time CUPE 3902 Unit 1 Course Instructors in individual departments. It is our belief that the modular approach to training Course Instructors described above will provide the most flexibility to departments and first-time Unit 1 Course Instructors.

A list of  workshops approved for Course Instructors is on our Course Instructors Training Sessions page.

If you have questions about developing first-time Course Instructor training or about using the TATP to help fulfill this training requirement for your first-time Unit 1 instructors, please contact the Assistant Director, CTSI/TATP, Michal Kasprzak, at (416) 978-1510 or


Tutorial Training Information for Departments

As of January 1, 2018, all TAs who are being asked to lead tutorials are required to receive training that focuses on the particular kind of tutorial teaching they have been assigned: discussion-based teaching, skills-based teaching, review sessions, and laboratory teaching or teaching in practicals. They may also receive training in how to scale their learning activities for different sizes of tutorials (as defined by the department and in line with the training “thresholds” referenced in the report of the Report of the Joint Working Group on Undergraduate Tutorials. The TATP will be able to build tutorials-focused training that aligns with these 4 categories into the 4-hour mandatory training session for first-contract TAs that is normally delivered on-site in a department at the start of a term. This training will also provide strategies for adapting learning activities in a tutorial to suit the number of students. If a department chooses to provide additional training to its new and/or returning TAs, the TATP will offer additional workshops at the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation on the St. George campus to meet this need. (Workshops on the UTM and UTSC campuses are TBD.) Please see our TATP Workshops calendar to view a list of upcoming workshops.

In this first year of implementation of the tutorial categorization scheme, instructors should contact the appropriate designate in their division/department to determine the process for categorizing tutorials. In most cases, this will either be an Associate Chair Undergraduate or Graduate, or a faculty or staff member charged with overseeing TA contracts in the division/department.

Below is information on identifying your tutorial category as well as information about the different ways that the TATP can support the training process. If you have any further questions about the process, please contact the TATP at

Identifying Your Tutorial Category

The term ‘tutorial’ at the University of Toronto is used to identify interactive and participatory sessions primarily led by TAs. During these interactive and participatory tutorial sessions, TAs are responsible for gauging student understanding and providing formative feedback, in line with assessment structures and guidelines set by the instructor. The four categories of tutorials as defined by the Report of the Joint Working Group on Undergraduate Tutorials (p.5 and pp. 29 – 30 in the working group’s report) are:

These activities are not mutually-exclusive and we acknowledge that any one tutorial may involve a range of them based on the established learning objectives. The categories are intended to denote the one primary activity of a given tutorial session.

Discussion Based Icon Discussion Based Sessions

These sessions provide opportunities for additional, or more in-depth, discussion of course content and may involve small-group activities. TAs would lead these sessions and facilitate discussion and learning activities.

Skill Development Icon Skill Development Sessions

Activities in these sessions might include opportunities to practice various skills such as language acquisition, use of computer programs, problem sets, etc. TAs would help to facilitate the activities during these sessions and would provide formative feedback to students on progress.

Laboratory Icon Laboratories/Practicals 

Laboratories are typically identified as “Practicals” in ROSI (not as Tutorials), and they provide opportunities to run experiments or tests in a lab setting. Problem-solving/ Practice sets are common to engineering, math, and science tutorials and they provide opportunities for students and TAs to practice and review.

Review Icon Review Sessions

These sessions allow students to ask questions about course content and assignments. They are typically offered several times during the year prior to major course deadlines and are normally optional. TAs would respond to student questions, clarify course content, and provide information on course assignments in these sessions. As relevant, these sessions also provide opportunities for review of key course content in preparation for exams, tests, or quizzes. Students may also be provided with information about the format of tests/exams/quizzes and the expectations with regard to performance. TAs would lead the review and respond to student questions in these sessions. This type of tutorial might also include film screenings where films discussed in a course may be screened in a separate session. In these sessions, TAs may be assigned to respond to questions from students.

If you have questions related to the categorization of your tutorials and the selection of appropriate training for your TAs, please consult the appropriate designate in your department or unit who has been charged with providing guidance around tutorial categorization and training.

If you are experiencing difficulty with classifying your tutorial, please consult with your department/unit Chair, Associate Chair, TA Coordinator or other designate in your department.

Once you have determined which category of tutorial your course tutorial falls into, you need to determine:


NOTE: All TATP-facilitated training in the four tutorial categories below will also offer strategies for scaling learning activities appropriately in accordance with the number of students in a tutorial.

If you selected Discussion-Based Sessions, your TA(s) could benefit from training in these areas:

  1. Effective facilitation of small, large and/or online group discussions;
  2. Development of relevant examples/scenarios/questions for discussion activities;
  3. Selection  and use of materials appropriate to discipline/course content;
  4. Providing effective in-class or online feedback;
  5. Planning lessons (including how to scale learning activities appropriately for the number of students);
  6. Presentation skills;
  7. Classroom management (including how to scale learning activities appropriately for the number of students).

If you selected Skill Development Sessions, your TA(s) could benefit from training in:

  1. Facilitating hands-on activities (including how to scale learning activities appropriately for the number of students);
  2. Providing formative feedback to students;
  3. Presentation skills;
  4. How to integrate and apply active and collaborative learning strategies;
  5. Classroom management (including strategies for different sizes of tutorials).

If you selected Review Sessions, your TA(s) could benefit from training in:

  1. How to surface students’ questions in a way that brings forward the common blocks or areas of concern (including how to effectively structure Q&A sessions);
  2. How to respond to students’ questions effectively;
  3. How to deliver effective mini-presentations that summarize/consolidate students’ areas of concern;
  4. How to model effective review strategies for students;
  5. Tutorial planning (including how to scale learning activities appropriately for the number of students);
  6. Classroom management (including strategies for different sizes of tutorials).

If you selected Laboratories/Practicals, your TA(s) could benefit from training in:

  1. How to deliver effective pre-lab talks;
  2. How to deliver demonstrations and presentations;
  3. How to effectively monitor students’ work;
  4. General lab safety and protocols;
  5. Tutorial planning (including how to scale learning activities appropriately for the number of students);
  6. Classroom management strategies (including strategies for different sizes of tutorials);
  7. How to provide effective feedback.

How will CTSI/TATP help meet these training needs in the academic year 2018-19?

Fall 2018/Winter 2019 

  1. Regular TATP Workshop Series at CTSI – more in-depth training related to the different tutorial categories will be identified and offered. Look for the Tutorial Training icons!
  2. Online learning modules focusing on a range of topics to support TAs in their tutorial planning and teaching will be gradually rolled out through the 2018-2019 academic year.