Guide for Teaching Asssistants!


If you’re a TA in Cosi119a you may be wondering what the duties and expectations are. I wrote this to help you understand not only the hard requirements, but also the softer aspects.

This course is unusual in several ways. It is still in its infancy, as this semester is more or less a complete rewrite from last semester. This means that there will be gaps, last minute changes and mistakes made by me, either while presenting to students or in the content I write. This means that you will be even more important to how things go.

  • Proactive: I am really counting on your proactive involvement to help me make this course work. We are all here for the students, yes trite but true. Our goal is that students feel that their hard work will pay off and be worthwhile for their time and efforts.

  • Student Frustration: This is a difficult course for students, because they are working for the first time with a huge codebaser (ROS) and also on hardware and software. Many of them have not used linux and have little experience with the shell. You need to be devoted to helping the studetns through these challenges.

  • You are our eyes, ears and voice with the students! I hope you take this to heart and do what it takes to make this class and thes students’ experience a great one.

  • Changes When and if you get to a point in the semester where you’re just not into it anymore or are collapsing under time pressure and are phoning it in – let us know and we will find another student to take your place with no hard feelings! Conversely if I determine that you are not engaged as a TA, not adding value, then I might be forced to find another student to take your place.

  • Honesty:: You should understand the Academic Honesty standards and policies and be part of the early warning system if you feel that something is happening that is not right.

  • Lead TA: A few weeks into the semester I will appoint a lead TA. This is important so that I don’t become a bottleneck. Many decisions that normally would come to me will go to the lead TA.

Expectations for Teaching Assistants

  • Plan on 5-10 hours a week

  • There are two separate lab sections this semester. I need at least one of you to be present for the whole lab period. In addition each of you should have 2 hours of office hours, held in the lab, every week.

  • Monitor slack and email at least twice a day, hopefully 3 or 4 times.

Additional expectations for Lead TA

The role of Lead TA in Cosi119a is to optimize communication. We may have two or even three TAs and this can create overhead. So here are some of ways I will depend on the lead TA:

  • I will send all student requests for homework extensions, grade questions, etc to the lead TA.
  • The lead TA has authority to override any policy on a case by case basis.
  • The lead TA has to make sure office hours are happening, they are published, that each lab is staffed by at least one student