Here are some guidelines for common TA tasks when assigned to a course taught by Prof. Borradaile. Not all tasks are relevant to all courses.

Grade sheet management

Here is a sample spreadsheet. You can start the course gradesheet by making a copy of this spreadsheet (File > Make a copy). Grade sheets can only be shared with the instructor and course TAs. For FERPA reasons, grade sheets must be kept on Google Apps for OSU (using your ONID login).
The public sheet of the spreadsheet will be posted to course websites for students to easily check their assignment and test grades. The public sheet will look like this. The IDs are computed by multiplying the middle 3 digits and last 3 digits of a student number. Double check that no two IDs are the same. The remaining entries of the public sheet are references to the grade entries (only raw grades, not computed grades) of the private sheet. The public sheet is published as follows:

  • File > Publish to the Web
  • Change All Sheets to Public
  • Make sure Automatically republish when changes are made. and Require viewers to sign in with their account. are selected. (The latter is a requirement for FERPA.)

Course website management

You may be asked to update the course website, which is managed through Prof. Borradaile's wiki site. The implementation is PMwiki. You should log in using your EECS/ENGR account by selecting Edit in the top right on the relevant page. If this does not give you access, email Prof. Borradaile to be added to the access list.

When uploading pdf's or other files to the course website, use the Attach link in the top right and preface the file with the course name and quarter. For example, assignment1.pdf should be uploaded with the name cs325f13-assignment1.pdf if the course is CS325 and it is the fall of 2013.

Office Hours

You may be asked to hold office hours. These are generally held in the KEC Atrium, with a sign on your table with the course number. There are regular office hours (weekly) plus test prep office hours (several hours within 2 weekdays of each exam). Take attendance at office hours; I would like to know who comes to office hours and how often. Attendance can be maintained on the grade sheet.

Clicker and lecture management

In CS325, Prof. Borradaile makes use of clickers for classroom engagement. See the Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC) website for more information. If you have not managed the use of clickers before, arrange a one-on-one training session with TAC as soon as possible. Prof. Borradaile most often uses clickers on the fly by asking a question of the class, getting a sample of answers and then using these answers as multiple-choice responses for clicker polling. Often, Prof. Borradaile will have students answer once, then talk amongst themselves about which answer is correct, and answer a second time. Your responsibilities will include:

  • Recording the questions, multiple-choice answers and percent of students selecting each response (for both the first and second time, as appropriate).
  • Downloading student data (or uploading to Blackboard and then downloading from there) as to how they answered each question.
  • Recording participation based on student responses in the course gradesheets.

Course tutorials

You may be asked to hold in-class course tutorials. For these, students will have already received a set of questions to work on. In the tutorial, you will go over the answers of the questions, reinforcing the ideas taught in lecture.

Problem solving session group assignments

In CS515, problem solving sessions (PSS) are held 5-7 times during the quarter. Students work in groups of 2-3 (with at most 2 groups of 2) that are assigned. Assignments must change for each PSS and should be somewhat random. One suggestion to accomplish this is:

  • Start with a random ordering of the students and add 0-2 'blank' students so that the number of students, n, becomes a multiple of 3.
  • Place the first n/3 students in group A, the next n/3 in group B and the last n/3 students in group C. Number the students in each group from 0 to n/3-1.
  • The three students with number i are in group i for the first PSS.
  • For the next PSS, add 1 (mod n/3) to each student number in group B and 2 (mod n/3) to each student number in group C. The student numbers give their group numbers. Repeat for each remaining PSS.

I recommend waiting until the very end of the first week, or the Monday of the second week to start group assignments, as students adding or dropping the course can throw a wrench in the gears.

Student group assignments should be kept on a separate sheet (with an appropriate label) of the grade sheet. For each PSS there will be 4-6 questions. Each group should be assigned 2 questions. For the PSS session, groups will be paired that solved different questions. Speak with Prof. Borradaile ahead of the assignments for detail on this. When PSS questions are posted, you should email the class list with the group and question assignments.

Quiz, test and exam proctoring

Photocopy enough copies of the quiz, test or exam for the number of students in the course plus 2-3 extras, just in case. These should be copied on one side only. You should receive a copy-code from the front office for TA purposes that will give you access to collating copy machines. Bring some extra blank paper to the exam room for student use. For tests and exams, also bring a sheet with the student names on them and have the sheet passed around and signed. (This acts as insurance against a lost submission.) When the exams are submitted, make sure there is one for each student that signed the sheet. Inform Prof. Borradaile of any students who did not show up for the test or exam. Unless told otherwise, tests and exams are in the same room as lectures.