Info for Departments

For information on TA and Course Instructor Training, please read the TATP Training Information 2020-21 (pdf) 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 Returning TAs

Training Options for First-time Teaching Assistants

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

OPTION 2: Departments can refer TAs to the TATP for some or all of their first contract training. The TATP will be offering 2-hour online sessions and several asynchronous online training modules.

2-Hour Synchronous Training Sessions: topics covered include key instructional techniques, general online/remote teaching strategies, time management, communicating with students, effective student support, working with your Course Supervisor, etc. TAs must register prior to the session.

Humanities Social Sciences Sciences & Engineering
Tues., Sept. 8, 1 – 3 Tues., Sept. 8, 9 – 11 Tues., Sept. 8, 11 – 1
Wed., Sept. 9, 11 – 1 Wed., Sept. 9, 1 – 3 Wed., Sept. 9, 9 – 11
Thurs., Sept. 10, 10 – 12 Thurs., Sept. 10, 12 – 2 Thurs., Sept. 10, 2 – 4
Fri., Sept. 11, 2 – 4 Fri., Sept. 11, 10 – 12 Fri., Sept. 11, 12 – 2
Mon., Sept. 14, 12 – 2 Mon., Sept. 14, 2 – 4 Mon., Sept. 14, 10 – 12
Tues., Sept. 15, 11 – 1 Tues., Sept. 15, 1 – 3 Tues., Sept. 15, 3 – 5
Wed., Sept. 16, 3 – 5 Wed., Sept. 16, 10 – 1 Wed., Sept. 16, 1 – 3
Thurs., Sept. 17, 1 – 3 Thurs., Sept. 17, 3 – 5 Thurs., Sept. 17, 10 – 1
Fri., Sept. 15, 9 – 11 Fri., Sept. 15, 10 – 1 Fri., Sept. 15, 1 – 3
Mon., Sept. 21, 9 – 11 Mon., Sept. 21, 11 – 1 Mon., Sept. 21, 1 – 3

Registration coming soon.

All first time TAs should complete the Policies & Procedures for Teaching Assistants at the University of Toronto module.
1-Hour Asynchronous Online Modules:
All online modules are available for self-enrolment in Quercus.

Departments should then direct TAs to complete one of the following online modules, based on the tutorial category selected:

Discussion Based Tutorials
Skill Development: Critical Reading and Reflection
Skill Development: Supporting Student Writing
Skill Development: Problem Sets (Link coming soon)
Review and Q&A (Link coming soon)

If TAs are grading only, they can complete the Grading module.
If TAs require further training on Quercus, they can complete the Introduction to Qurecus module.

Please consult the FAQ for Administrators for details (and direct TAS to the FAQ for Teaching Assistants to enrol).

Training Options for First-time Course Instructors

OPTION #1: Training can be developed and delivered entirely by the hiring department.

Development of all training materials and delivery of the training is handled by the hiring department. TATP & CTSI are available to consult on the content and method of delivery of such training.

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

Departments can prepare an introductory 2-hour training session for their first time Course Instructors that is delivered in the department. Course Instructors can then subsequently attend 2 additional 2-hour workshops (offered regularly by TATP) to complete the remaining 4 hours of paid training. These workshops will be designated on our website as approved for Course Instructor Training.

OPTION #3: Training offered entirely through the TATP.

First time Course Instructors may attend the TATP offering “Course Instructor Training Camp” to receive all six hours of paid training (3 hours of asynchronous content and 3 hours of synchronous workshops). The training camp is offered three times a year prior to the beginning of each term. Course Instructors are eligible to attend training as soon as they have a contract to teach from their hiring department, even prior to the beginning of the term in which they are teaching.

First time Course Instructors may choose three 2-hour workshops from the approved offerings by CTSI  or  TATP. Past workshop offerings have included subjects such as: lesson design, assignment design, syllabus design, supporting students in distress, academic integrity, active & collaborative learning, and working with Quercus.

For registration, please visit the Course Instructor Training Page.

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.

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.