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TA Orientation and Prep Course

The Teaching Assistant Orientation and Preparation Course (GRAD T580) are offered once per year in the fall and are required for all new, incoming graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs)/Teaching Fellows (TFs) and those who started after the fall term and have not yet had the training. Training begins with an orientation program followed by the TA Preparation Course, GRAD T580, a free, one-credit special topics course that meets a select number of times during the fall quarter. Please refer to the program syllabus below for more information.

In addition to the orientation and prep course, TAs/TFs are encouraged to attend teaching and learning professional development workshops throughout the year for additional training, professional development, and networking opportunities.

Student Learning Outcomes

Through participation in this course, TAs/TFs will be able to identify and articulate:

  • The nature and importance of their roles as "teachers";
  • The importance of clear and measured objectives for lessons, tutoring and other activities and the ability to assess them;
  • The importance of designing assessments (formative and summative) that provide evidence of the achievement of lesson goals;    
  • The expectations and needs of a diverse student population and the instructional teaching techniques and strategies for meeting these needs;
  • Effective styles of communication and interactions with instructors, students and peers;
  • The importance of being a reflective practitioner;
  • The many and varied support services available on the University level for them and for their students. These include the Office of Equality and Diversity/ Disability Resources, the Counseling Center, etc.

Fall 2021

Virtual Orientation

Friday, September 17, 2021

Attendance/participation in the virtual orientation is required. Students who are unable to attend/participate must contact Dr. Tsz Kwok, Associate Director of the Graduate College, at in advance.


Time Activity
9 - 9:30 a.m. EDT Welcome Remarks from Drexel Administrators
9:30 - 10 a.m. EDT Icebreaker Activity
10 - 10:30 a.m. EDT Overview & The Role of a Teaching Assistant
10:30 - 10:40 a.m. EDT BREAK
10:40 - 11:40 a.m. EDT


  • Office of Equality and Diversity (OED) & Disability Resources
  • Office of Residential Living and Student Conduct
11:40 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EDT TA Panel: Discussion with Current TAs

Course Sessions

Attendance/participation is required. Students who are unable to attend/participate must contact Dr. Tsz Kwok, Associate Director of the Graduate College, at in advance.

Date/Time Class/Assignment
Due by Week 2 Scavenger Hunt Assignment

Friday, October 22 (Week 5)

1 - 3 p.m. EDT

Mid-Term Meeting (Attendance Required)
Various, see below Professional Development Workshops (Must attend at least 2 of 3)

Friday, November 12 (Week 8)

1 - 3 p.m. EST

Final Meeting (Attendance Required)

Reflection Assignment Due


In addition to the orientation and prep course sessions, all new, incoming TAs/TFs will be required to attend at least 2 of the following 3 professional development workshops during the fall quarter, which are also open to the graduate community.

Please register for the 2 sessions you plan to attend by contacting Dr. Tsz Kwok, Associate Director of the Graduate College, at Please RSVP at least one business day in advance to guarantee a response.

Chris FinnanWorkshop 1: Why Aren't Undergrads as Interested in This Stuff as I Am? How to Motivate Students

Facilitator: Christopher Finnan, EdD, Clinical Professor, General Business, LeBow College of Business

You've devoted your life to your discipline and find it fascinating, but some of your students may be less than enthusiastic about it. In this session you will learn principles and strategies for inspiring motivation and instilling the will to work in your students.

Friday, October 8, 2021
12 - 1 p.m. EDT

This session has concluded.

Johanna InmanWorkshop 2: Learning is Not a Spectator Sport: Get Students in the Game with Active Learning!

Facilitator: Johanna Inman, EdD, Director, Teaching and Learning Center

The research on how learning works has shown that students learn better and retain more when they are directly involved in their learning. In this workshop, TAs will be presented with the principles of active and collaborative learning, discover a few time-tested active learning techniques, and have the opportunity to brainstorm ways they can apply this research to their own teaching contexts.

Friday, October 22, 2021
12 - 1 p.m. EDT

This session has concluded.

Valerie Klein - Drexel University Assistant Clinical Professor for MS in Mathematics Learning and Teaching and MS in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum: Advanced StudiesWorkshop 3: How to Grade Effectively without Losing Sleep (or Your Mind)

Facilitator: Valerie Klein, EdD, Associate Clinical Professor, School of Education, and Interim Associate Director, Teaching and Learning Center

One of the toughest parts of being a TA is the grading process. TAs need to balance fairness with adherence to learning objectives, while allowing time for their own work and other life obligations. This interactive session will include a discussion of various grading strategies, how to handle grading disputes, and techniques for time management or grading responsibilities.

Friday, November 12, 2021
12 -  1 p.m. EDT

This session has concluded.

Course Materials

If you have any questions about the TA Orientation or Prep Course, please contact the Graduate College at