Requirements and Expectations

Be available, friendly, and helpful

  • You’re the first line of defense when students are struggling with a concept or an assignment — we’re counting on you!

Be prepared

  • You should read the assignments for the intro classes, before your shift starts if possible.
  • You should have a clue about which topics have been covered in the intro classes. Skim the course web pages or, when a student asks you a question, ask him/her to tell you what he/she knows. Then, for example, you won’t tell a student to use a loop if loops haven’t yet been introduced in the class.

Generate reports from the front

  • If you observe systematic issues for students (students seem really confused by = versus == or question #2 on the assignment is really confusing or …), pass that information along to the professor for the course. Also consider posting a FAQ on the whiteboard if you can provide helpful clarification or emailing the cs-lab-assistant list.

Things to Do When You Aren’t Helping Other Students

  • Learn how to program in Python
  • Read the current assignments from all the CS 1xx courses
  • Do the CS 1xx assignments (in Python)

General Thoughts On Helping Students

Keep students aware of other options for getting help:

  • The professor of the class
  • The TA (“prefect”), for classes who have one
  • For more algorithmic (less syntactic) questions, the Math Skills Center during shifts with people who have taken CS 111.

Other thoughts

  • Don’t take the keyboard! (“teach a student to fish …”)
  • *Read* error messages. CS 111 students in general won’t recognize errors nearly as quickly as you will.
  • Trust your judgement.