Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Teaching Assistant Job

This semester I will be a TA for CS 477: Formal Software Development Methods with Madhusudan Parthasarathy. This course is about how to mathematically prove that programs (or at least parts of them) are correct. The first 3-4 weeks of the course is about propositional and first-order logic (which I mostly already know) but after that the stuff will be new to me. There are a total of about 30 students in this class, 15 of which are I2CS students - I2CS is the online program. I am the only TA for this course. I will not be giving any lectures or leading discussion sections but there will still be a considerable amount of work to do. I will be doing the following:

1. Helping to write the homework assignments and answers, and also grade the homework assignments. The professor also has money in the budge to hire a grader but we don't think that will be necessary (also, the graders are all undergraduate students, so it will be difficult to find a grader that knows the stuff in this course).

2. Communicating with the I2CS students via e-mail. Also I will have "office hours" which will be conducted via Skype.

3. Operating the camera that records the lectures to be posted on the Internet for the I2CS students. The camera is mounted on the ceiling and it is operated remotely from a "Media Services" room in the basement. Most of the process is automated; there is an "Echo 360" system that is programmed to automatically record during the period of time that the class is scheduled and then post it on a secure server for the I2CS students to log in to. I just have to make sure the camera is working and pointed at the professor. The system is kind of cool - the projector and the screen that the projector projects on to can also be controlled remotely, just in case the professor can't figure out how to operate them.

4. Updating the course web site with the lecture notes and stuff.