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TAing Observational Astronomy Courses

PHYS 50 (Observational Astronomy Laboratory) and PHYS 100 (Introduction to Observational Astrophysics) each combine a hands-on observational component with a lecture component. PHYS 50 is intended for non-technical majors and is offered in the Autumn quarter; PHYS 100 is intended for technical majors and is offered in the Spring quarter.  TAs for these courses must be trained to use the telescopes at the Stanford Student Observatory

Teaching assistantships for these courses are 25% appointments.  TAs should plan to spend time with students during night-sky observations (approximately 8 to 11 pm or later).  In addition to leading interactive discussion sections and assisting with viewing sessions, TAs for these courses will perform the following duties.

  1. Attend late-evening observatory sessions as arranged with the instructor.
  2. 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.
  3. Grade problem sets and lab reports.  Grades must be entered on CourseWork (CW) and graded problem sets and labs must be returned to students at least two days before the next problem set or lab is due.  CW is used to send out announcements to the entire class about common mistakes on the problem set or lab report that has just been graded.
  4. Write solutions to problem sets -- if there are multiple TAs for a class, the TAs take turns writing solutions.
  5. 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; returning exams to students; generating statistics for the exam.