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TAing the PHYS 60 series discussion

Current (AY 2017-18) Active Learning courses include:

  • PHYS 16: The Origin and Development of the Cosmos (Winter)
  • PHYS 61:  Mechanics and Special Relativity (Autumn)
  • PHYS 63:  Electricity, Magnetism, Optics (Winter)
  • PHYS 65: Quantum and Thermal Physics (Spring)
  • PHYS 70: Foundations of Modern Physics (Autumn; required for Physics and Engineering Physics majors who took 40-series)
  • PHYS 110/210: Advanced Mechanics (Autumn)
  • PHYS 120/121: Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism I and II (Winter/Spring)
  • PHYS 130/131: Quantum Mechanics I and II (Winter/Spring)
  • PHYS 152/252: Introduction to Particle Physics I
  • PHYS 170: Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Mechanics I (Autumn)

A TA appointment for these courses is a 25% appointment.   TAs for these courses should expect to spend 10 hours per week, averaged over the quarter, on the following TA responsibilities:

  1. Attend and participate in two class sessions per week, with the possibility of leading one of those sessions.

    • Active learning class sessions are typically a combination of short lectures with interspersed active-learning exercises, conducted in small groups. The instructor and TAs facilitate the activities much like a traditional discussion section based on group problem solving, but with a more rapid turnaround between lectures and activities.

    • Some courses may involve a moderate level of participation in each session, while others may expect TAs to lead one session per week.

  2. Help in preparing, improving, or reviewing active learning exercises.

  3. Hold office hours. Instructors may recommend office hour times. Alternately, TAs poll students to identify a time that works for those students who are likely to come to office hours and that is consistent with problem set due dates. TAs may advertise their office hours as “homework sessions” to encourage students to attend and collaborate on the homework.

  4. Attend weekly planning meeting with the instructional team for the course.

  5. Grade problem sets (PS). All PS must be graded and "returned" to students at least two days before the next PS is due (individual instructors may request earlier returns). PS submitted on Gradescope must be completely graded and released on time. Grades for PS turned in on paper must be entered on Canvas and graded PS must be returned to students on time.  Canvas is used to send out announcements to the entire class about common mistakes on the PS that has just been graded.

  6. Write and/or check solutions to problem sets. If there are multiple TAs for a class, the TAs take turns writing solutions or jointly write solutions.

  7. Assist with miscellaneous, non-weekly tasks, which may include the following:

    • Submitting possible questions for the exam -- TAs are not responsible for writing the exam since that is the instructor's responsibility.

    • Proof-reading the exam; taking the exam to assess clarity and length of the exam; writing up or checking solutions.

    • Leading review sessions before exams.

    • Administering the exam; making sure there are "blue books" available, etc.

    • Grading the exam; entering grades on Canvas for courses that are not using Gradescope; returning physical exams to students or releasing exams on Gradescope.

    • Generating statistics for the exam.