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Lab Assistant Resources

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.

Faculty Course Pages:

Other Resources:

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
  • for classes with a TA ("prefect"), the TA ("prefect")
  • for more algorithmic (less syntactic) questions, the math skills center during shifts with people who have taken 111.

Don't take the keyboard! ("teach a student to fish ...")

If confronted by a student with a blank screen, try to get them

  • to work on incremental versions. (step one: can you get the program to display a prompt?) (step two: ...)
  • Help them get started.

*Read* error messages. 111 students in general won't recognize errors nearly as quickly as you will.

Trust your judgement.