Computing Science

Teaching Assistant Resources

Each year, the Department of Computing Science provides financial support for approximately 70 students in the graduate program in the form of eight-month teaching and research assistantships. Every applicant who is admitted to a graduate degree program in CS is automatically considered for a Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantship.

Administration

TA Assignment

The TA Assignment Director will assign each teaching assistant to a course. Notices regarding your deployment to a course will be sent by email.

Your Course Contact is, in most cases, the instructor teaching that course, or, in the case of CMPUT 101, the head TA. Notices regarding the course you are TAing will be sent by email.

Paycheques & Workload

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) are paid from September 1 to December 31, or January 1 to April 30. This covers 16 weeks. GTAs get paid on a semi-monthly basis by direct deposit to their bank account. A full-time GTA assignment is an average of 12 hours per week, or 192 hours of work per term. There will be some peak times where it will be necessary for GTAs to work more than 12 hours in one week.

Your TA job starts on the first day of classes. Preparation prior is often required so getting in touch with your Course Contact as soon as possible is encouraged.

TA Duties

TA Workshop

At the beginning of every year there is a TA workshop which includes a brief presentation followed by a group discussion aimed at answering any trickier questions you may have. It does not, however, cover everything - so please be sure to review the material in this section prior to attending the workshop and prepare any questions you may have.

CSID Security

It is of paramount importance that as a TA you practice good conduct with regards to ensuring the security of your CSID login. This means that each time you leave the workstation you are logged into you should lock your workstation (you must be aware of this regardless of whether you are using Ubuntu or Windows as your operating system). You must assume that your account is in danger of being abused each time you leave your workstation while you are still logged in. If you are consulting with students in a lab and you are logged into a workstation, when you leave that workstation to help a student you MUST lock you workstation.

This is of such importance that the following process has been put into place:

  1. TST actively looks for people, including TAs, who have left themselves logged into a workstation and left that workstation unattended. The first time a TA is caught in this situation, his/her account will be disabled and the TA will have to go to the help desk, in CSC 1-32, to get his/her account re-enabled.
  2. If a TA is caught a second time, the Associate Chair for Graduate Students will be informed of the infraction. As with the first time the TA will have to go to the help desk to get their account re-enabled. In addition, the TA may have to visit the Associate Chair to explain his/her situation.
  3. Each additional time will require the permission of the Associate Chair (Graduate) for the TA's account to be re-enabled.

Overview of Duties

TA duties are assigned at the beginning of the term by their Course Contact. TAs should contact their Course Contact immediately upon being deployed to a course, to ensure that their schedules are taken into account as duties are assigned.

Duties vary from course to course, but is usually a combination of:

  • Laboratory supervision: Sometimes includes a presentation component in addition to readiness to assist students individually during lab time with lab work.
  • Marking: On-line - involving submission/extraction software or paper-based.
  • Preparation: Attending lectures, reading, and solving assignments - perhaps providing model solutions.
  • Consulting hours: Weekly additional times outside of the regularly scheduled lab periods where any student from your course can go for help with lab work or lecture material.
  • Other forms of course support: Moderating forums or helping to develop lab material.
  • Meetings: In-person weekly events or involve other communication mechanisms.

Assigning TA duties involves a great deal of effort. The Course Contact must depend on the TA's understanding of the course material and advance preparation for assigned activities. As in any other instructional responsibility, the TA is expected to prepare as necessary for the assigned hours of duties.

TA Duties, Responsibilities and Evaluation