Fall 2015 Wednesdays 2:00-3:20pm CSE 1202

** No meeting Wednesday September 23 **

UC San Diego's quarters are typically 10 weeks long. Milestones in the quarter correspond to particular weeks. For example, the last day for students to add a class is Friday of Week 2 (Registrar's quarterly calendar).

This Fall, the quarter starts with a half week called "Week 0". For reference, here's a list of dates and their corresponding week numbers.

WeekWednesdayCSE599
Week 0Sep 23No meeting
Week 1Sep 30CSE 4140
Week 2Oct 7CSE 1202
Week 3Oct 14CSE 1202
Week 4Oct 21CSE 1202
Week 5Oct 28CSE 1202
Week 6Nov 4CSE 1202
Week 7Nov 11No meeting: Veterans' Day
Week 8Nov 18CSE 1202
Week 9Nov 25No meeting: prepare for 3 minute thesis competition
Week 10Dec 2CSE 1202

Week 1: Introduction and Basic TA Responsibilities

To complete before Week 1 class:


Slides: PDF



Practicum activity:

In your group, compare the role of a TA to the role of an engineer working in industry (either research or non-research role in a company). Designate one person to facilitate the discussion; he or she will act as the "TA" for the group. Set a timer to 3 minutes and rotate the role of "TA" every time 3 minutes elapse. The TA should make sure the conversation stays on track and that all group members have an opportunity to and are encouraged to participate in the discussion. The TA should also take the lead in picking a new direction for exploration if the conversation flags.

At the end of the session, reflect on your group's discussion. Designate one group member to record the session via this Google Form.

Week 2: How are you doing? Getting feedback on your TAing (also time management)

To complete before Week 2 class:


Slides: PDF



Practicum activity:

For your next practicum assignment, you will practice the same core skills, but we'll throw in a more interactive component and ask you to handle actual questions from students as they arise. Prepare a 4-minute discussion section for our in-class practicum. For this week we will be simulating the following situation, which you are likely to encounter as a TA. Imagine that through attending lecture (or hearing from the instructor) you notice that students are having a tough time understanding one of the core course topics. For discussion section you want to spend a few minutes going over an example that helps clarify this topic.

If you'd like, you can keep the same topic of your video from last week. If you do so, make sure to refine your presentation based on the observations you made when watching the video.

Now that you'll be presenting "live", in the middle of your explanation, you should expect questions from the "audience" that will force you to take your explanation in a slightly different direction. This week we want you to continue to focus on good whiteboard practices, like the ones you identified watching the Khan Academy videos. As part of the assignment, you should create an outline of what you will talk about and submit this outline no later than TUESDAY 5pm by posting it as a follow-up to the relevant post on Piazza. Please develop your own outline before looking at the outlines developed by your peers.

Since each group has roughly 8 students, only half will present this week (the other half will present in week 4). Use whatever mechanism you'd like to choose who presents each week.

At the end of the session, reflect on your discussion. Designate one group member to record the session here.

Week 3: How are the students doing? Assessment and grading

To complete before Week 3 class:

In this assignment you will It is important that you complete these parts in order. The sample question we'll be using is this CSE 8A exam question. You'll be grading six sample student responses.
Other resources for grading:

Slides: PDF



Practicum

In your group, reflect on your grading experience : Finally, develop a grading rubric for this exam question as a group. Do your best to make sure it reflects the quality of the student's work and is consistent across solutions. For context, this is a question from a CSE8A exam, which is the first course in Java programming. You'll need to make some judgement calls about what topics you feel are particularly important.

At the end of the session, reflect on your discussion. Designate one group member to record the session here.

Week 4: Stereotype threat and implicit bias

To complete before Week 4 class:


Other resources for inclusive classrooms:

Slides: PDF



Practicum activity:

continuation from Week 2. The remaining group members who didn't present in Week 2 will present this week.

At the end of the session, reflect on your discussion. Designate one group member to record the session here.

Week 5: How people learn

To complete before Week 5 class:

After reading the chapter, post a follow-up note to the "How People Learn" discussion in Piazza addressing the following two questions:
  1. What is one new thing you learned about the science of learning from the reading?
  2. How can this chapter impact your teaching / explanations?

Slides: PDF



Practicum activity:

Leveraging prior knowledge.
Select one of the following topics: As a group, discuss how you could incorporate student prior knowledge in a a discussion of this topic.
  1. What prior knowledge might help / get in the way of students' understanding?
  2. Design an example / exercise that will help draw out students' misconceptions
  3. Design an example / exercise that will help teach the concept by building on prior knowledge.


At the end of the session, reflect on your discussion. Designate one group member to record the session here.

Week 6: Active learning strategies

To complete before Week 6 class:


Other resources for active learning:

Slides: PDF



Practicum activity:

You will role-play working with different students in a one-on-one situation (e.g. office hours, or in the lab). Today, 4 of you will have the opportunity to take the role of TA and 4 will act as students. Each pair will role-play for 5 minutes while the rest of the team observes, then another pair will take over, etc. Make sure to keep a close eye on the timing. Once all four pairs have presented, as a team discuss
  1. Which strategies worked effectively with each "student personality".
  2. Which strategies did not work effectively with each "student personality".
  3. What strategies can you use as a TA to quickly determine what your student needs (they won't tell you ahead of time what personality / role they're playing or feeling!).
Some more details about the TA/ student interaction: Educational context: Recursion. Students have just learned about recursive functions, and are now being asked to write simple recursive functions from scratch. Here is the program they are supposed to write as part of their homework:

Write a recursive function that uses Turtle graphics to draw a tree with N levels. A level 1 tree is a stick. Here are some examples of output trees.

Here is a correct solution for your reference (defined inside the Turtle class):

public void drawTree( int levels, int size )
{
  if (levels == 0)
   return;
  this.forward( size );
  this.turn( 30 );
  this.drawTree( levels-1, size / 2 );
  this.turn( -30 );
  this.turn( -30 );
  this.drawTree( levels-1, size / 2 );
  this.turn( 30 );
  this.backward( size );
}

When working with your perplexed student your goal is to get them to understand the problem and be able to generate the correct solution. You should think about how to get them to think about breaking down the problem into something manageable. You might consider giving a simpler example, or having them try to do only part of the problem.

Your other main task is to respond to the student on a personal level. Each student has been given a different personality role to play, so part of your challenge will be figuring out the best approach for an individual.

At the end of the session, reflect on your group's discussion, referring back to the guiding questions:
  1. Which strategies worked effectively with each "student personality".
  2. Which strategies did not work effectively with each "student personality".
  3. What strategies can you use as a TA to quickly determine what your student needs (they won't tell you ahead of time what personality / role they're playing or feeling!).
Designate one group member to record the session via this Google Form.

Week 7: No meeting due to Veterans' Day

Week 8: Digging Deeper

To complete before Week 8 class:


Slides:



Practicum activity:

continuation from Week 6. Switch roles: those who were TAs will now act as students and vice versa. Repeat the sequence of activities from week 6, and reflect.

At the end of the session, reflect on your discussion. Designate one group member to record the session here.

Week 9: No meeting due to Thanksgiving day

To complete before Tuesday at noon:

Your goal is to say something meaningful, correct, interesting, and approachable within the allotted time frame.

You will create a visual aid to help your explanation. This week's assignment is to create that visual aid; next week you will prepare your presentation. Create a single Slide in Google Slides
  1. Share the file with mminneskemp@eng.ucsd.edu and doyen@eng.ucsd.edu, and
  2. Send us the link to the file via this form.
We will compile all the slides before the Week 10 competition. You will be able to refer to your slide during your presentation.

You should also think ahead and give yourself lots of time to prepare and polish your oral presentation as well; 60 seconds go by very quickly if you don't plan them carefully.

Week 10: The elevator pitch competition

In this week's final CSE 599 class, you'll present a (very short) segment on a topic you might be asked by a student. Choose one of the topics below and prepare a 1 minute (60 seconds - we'll be strict about this so that everyone has an opportunity to present!) answer to the question. While you are presenting, the slide you prepared last week will be projected behind you. There will be prizes :)

To complete before Week 10 class:


Slides: PDF as of 12/1.



Practicum (no practicum session - longer group meeting)