[Cs-affiliates] Instructional support titles and responsibilities

Devits, Christopher R cdevits at bu.edu
Tue Feb 28 16:19:29 EST 2017

Dear Faculty,

As our class enrollments have grown we’re using more creative solutions for instructional support in our classrooms. I’ve gotten a few inquiries from faculty (and students) as to what is expected from those students assigned in instructional support roles.

I’m writing just to remind and summarize our current models so everyone is on the same page regarding expected roles and responsibilities. As always, any questions please let me know.

1. Teaching Fellows (TFs) and Teaching Assistants (TAs)

In terms of job responsibilities and hours per week, teaching fellows (TFs) and teaching assistants (TAs) are the same. Both should be doing 20 hours/week on average. The department outlines TF and TA responsibilities at https://www.bu.edu/cs/graduate/phd-program/teaching-fellow-expectations/. The difference between a TF and TA is simply that a TF is a PhD student and a TA is a Masters student. Both are expected to fulfill the duties outlined on our website.

2. Graders

Graders are paid $650 per position, for approximately 3 hours of work per week on average. They should only grade homework, assignments, etc. Coordination of grading, creating solutions, or addressing grading concerns from students usually fall under the purview of the TF/As who then work with the graders as needed. Typically, graders are not asked to interact directly with students in a course, hold office hours, proctor exams, etc. To put it simply, they’re just expected to grade. Any deviation from this should be consulted with me and Abraham as Associate Chair. Graders can be undergraduates, Masters, or PhD students.

3. Course Assistants (CAs) and Undergraduate Assistants (UAs)

These positions are paid more, have more responsibilities, and more time commitment. On average about 6 hours of work per week.

CAs are undergraduates. CAs are used exclusively in CS111 and CS112 where their roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and managed by the instructors and TF/As. There is a regular meeting component, in addition to grading responsibilities. The current model assigns one CA per lab section in these courses.

UAs are undergraduates as well, are more variable in terms of duties, and responsibilities vary course to course. Generally speaking, examples include UAs holding tutoring hours (in person or online), proctoring exams, addressing students with grading concerns, do some grading themselves, etc. Cases where UAs are used generally are those where enrollments do not justify a second TF/A line, but workload is such that it is too much for the TF/A(s) plus instructor. Other examples are cases like CS108, where UAs are used in class to assist in a flipped classroom model. Requests for UA support must be made to me and Abraham as Associate Chair, outlining proposed usage and to ensure we have funding.



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