Center for Teaching Excellence

TA Training

NEW FOR 2018:  Teaching Assistant Training is being moved to an online format. 

The Teaching Assistantship

Welcome to your graduate studies at SMU. Part of the support we provide—and the opportunities we offer—to our graduate students is the Teaching Assistantship. These positions frequently involve classroom or laboratory contact with undergraduate students, and the Center for Teaching Excellence can provide training and resources for that new role. The responsibility of a TA is a significant one in undergraduate education. It puts you in a unique position of influence, with the authority of a teacher combined with your closeness in age to your students providing a mentoring opportunity and a sympathetic ear.

Our website provides tips from various sources to help you as you begin this challenge.  In addition to general resources about teaching and relevant SMU policies the CTE website contains some advice aimed specifically at TAs.

What is the Teaching Assistant Training?

The Annual Teaching Assistant Training is an 8-hour online course that addresses common issues and campus-wide concerns for graduate students. The training is hosted through SMU’s learning management platform, Canvas, and can be completed on your own time. Throughout this course, you will learn about university policies and procedures, as well as an introduction to best teaching practices. This training does not replace the training offered by your department or school, but supplements the training you already receive.

Who should complete the training?

  • Graduate Students at SMU
  • You work directly with an undergraduate or graduate course
  • You anticipate being a Teaching Assistant in the next academic year 
  • You've never been a Teaching Assistant and are new to working with students 

All graduate TA's who have not yet completed the training are required to do so. Note: you do not need to complete this training if you have previously attended TA training.

Have a question?  Email us at

The Online Teaching Assistant Training

How to Enroll:

  1. Fill out this registration request form. You will be asked about your department and faculty supervisor, as well as your SMU ID number and the type of teaching assistant role you expect to fill. 
  2. Within 72 hours of completing this course, you will receive an email with access to the course and a link. (If after a week you still don’t have access to the course, reach out to us at, and we’ll see that you’re enrolled).
  3. That’s it! You’re in the course. Work your way through, and notify us should you run into any issues.

Enroll Now!


Completion of the Course:

  1. Congratulations! You’ve completed it! 
  2. On the last page of the course, you’ll find a certificate request form. Please fill out the form and pay important attention to the email address that you list on the form. This is the address where we will email you the certificate.
  3. Within one week of completing the course (and filling out the certificate form) you will receive your certificate via email. Be sure to keep a copy for your records, and provide your academic department with a copy of the certificate for their records.

Have a question?  Email us at