Skip to content Skip to navigation

TAing for Nontechnical Courses

Teaching Assistantships for courses intended for non-technical majors -- PHYS 15, 16 and 17 -- are 25% appointments.   For AY 2017-18, potential PHYS 16 TAs should refer to this link for details on their TA responsibilities.  As a TA for PHYS 15 or 17, you will spend 10 hours per week, averaged over the quarter, on the following TA responsibilities:

  1. Meet regularly with the instructor on a schedule decided with the instructor.
  2. Lead a weekly 50- or 80-minute discussion section
    • These discussion sections should facilitate active learning.  To engage students, the TAs and/or instructor select problems that are well-suited for group problem-solving. (The optimal number is 3 students per group.)  After a very brief introduction by the TA to the physics introduced that week, students work on problems in groups, while the TA asks the students questions, answers their questions, and helps them develop a deeper understanding of the material.  TAs are encouraged to minimize the amount of time they are "lecturing at the board" or "holding the markers".
    • Discussion section time is usually determined on the first day of class based on TA and student availability.  Discussion sections should not be scheduled during the dinner hour (5 to 7 pm).  However, sections can be held at registrar-approved time slots that end around 5:30 pm or start around 6:30 pm.  Like lectures, discussion sections must start at specific start times; check with Elva once a scheduling window has been identified.
    • Discussion sections should not be scheduled the day before the problem set is due.  Office hours -- not discussion section -- are appropriate for dealing with problem-set-related questions.
  3. Hold office hours (2 hours per week) -- students are polled to identify a time that works for those students who are likely to come to office hours -- please avoid lunch and dinner hours.
  4. Grade problem sets.  Grades must be entered on Canvas and graded problem sets must be returned to students at least two days before the next problem set is due.  Canvas is used to send out announcements to the entire class about common mistakes on the problem set that has just been graded.
  5. Write solutions to problem sets -- if there are multiple TAs for a class, the TAs take turns writing solutions.
  6. Assist with miscellaneous tasks, which may include
    • Submitting possible questions for the exam -- you 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 the length of the exam; writing up solutions.
    • Leading review sessions before the exams.
    • Administering the exam; making sure there are "blue books" available, etc.
    • Grading the exam; entering grades on Canvas for courses that do not use Gradescope; returning paper exams to students or releasing exams on Gradescope; generating statistics for the exam.