UW CSE 14x TA Program

Duties

Section

Every student taking CSE 142 or 143 is required to register for a quiz section, a weekly or biweekly meeting for one hour of about 20 students led by a TA.

Each section has a handout written by the instructor with a number of examples and practice problems. In section the TA will help the students walk through these problems to further solidify the concepts learned in lecture. This provides the students a more personal environment for learning and an opportunity to practice the skills learned from lecture.

While the instructor dictates certain aspects of section, TAs are given a significant amount of flexibility. For example, some TAs heavily emphasize group work in section, while other TAs choose to spend part of section presenting a "mini-lecture" on recently taught concepts. Designing and preparing for section is one of a TA's most important duties.

Grading

Throughout the course students will write weekly programs and submit them to their TA for grading. The TA that grades a student's assignment is the same TA that student has for section. This allows for better communication between students and their graders so that students can understand the grading criteria and TAs can inform students of what will be expected in the assignments.

In addition to assignment grading, all TAs are required to participate in midterm and final grading.

Introductory Programing Lab (IPL)

In addition to teaching students in their own sections, TAs spend a minimum of two hours per week aiding students in the Introductory Programming Lab (IPL). For further information on the IPL please see the IPL info page here.

Meetings

TAs performing the "shuffle dance" (an old TA tradition) at a community meeting.

To keep all TAs up to date, there are various required weekly meetings.

Course Staff Meeting
TAs attend one weekly staff meeting (1.5 hours) specifically for their course in which the instructor and head TA present material to teach and grade the students for the week. This meeting ensures that all TAs are consistent in what they teach in section as well as how they grade assignments.
Community Meeting
Once a week all the TAs from the 14x classes come together to discuss how to help students in the IPL. As the IPL is open to both students from 142 and 143, we use this time to ensure that all TAs understand how to help students in the IPL regardless of what assignment they are working on. We also use this time to eat snacks and goof off a little – it's a good time to meet and talk with other TAs!
New TA Training
During their first quarter, new TAs are required to attend a weekly 1.5-hour training session led by the TA coordinators. The first few trainings focus on basic course logistics (grading assignments, managing the IPL, UW employee services, etc.). The remaining sessions are aimed at practicing presentation and student interaction skills. A secondary goal of the trainings is to build a sense of comradery among the new TAs.
Grading Party
Every week the Head TA of each course hosts a grading party where TAs get together to grade assignments. This is a great opportunity for TAs to ask questions about grading. Grading parties are only required for new TAs but veteran TAs are always welcome.
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