Note: This is a work-in-progress class website, representing the best current estimate of course content and schedule. It may be updated as the semester progressed.

Spring 2019


Welcome! In this course, we have three main goals:

This course is only open to Teaching Assistants in the CS department. First-time TAs are required to sign up for one credit of CS 2910 in the semester of their first TAing experience. CS 2910 can be taken only once for credit.

The hiring policy determined by the CS undergraduate committee can be found below.

CS 2190 is now required for all first-time TAs, but we no longer "give credit" for working as a TA. This course is focused solely on training. TAs are paid for all hours they work now. The new policy is:

  1. Students with no prior experience being a TA for the CS department *must* sign up for 1 credit of CS 2910 in the first semester they are a TA. Any work done as a part of CS 2190 does not affect the number of hours a student is paid for their TA duties. A student can only take CS 2190 once for credit.
  2. Students are allowed to TA for more than one course if they are given more than one offer. If a student accepts a second TA position (either in our department or without), it is the student's responsibility to inform both professors of their intention. The professor has the right to withdraw any employment offer after the student makes this declaration.
  3. (SEAS Students Only) TAs can work over 10 hours per week on TAing duties if the hours are needed and available. Students must obtain and complete a permission form from the CS office. The form must be signed by all supervisors and is submitted to the SEAS Dean's office for final approval.
** In SIS, CS 2910 will change to 1 credit only, permission of instructor, cannot be retaken for credit.


Most of your TA responsibilities are defined by the instructor of the course for which you are TAing. This course will help you see how you can apply the idea of peer mentoring to your TA assignment to create positive TAing experience.

This course covers logistics and ethics, learning theory, peer mentor role and effective feedback, diversity, and grading. We will also discuss concerns and how to deal with problem students and struggling students. You will have an opportunity to suggest and vote on optional topics and sessions.

Instructor contact

Upsorn Praphamontripong
Office: Rice Hall 206
Email: upsorn
Office Hours: None set aside for 2910 specifically; drop by or ask for an appointment.

How does this course work?

Once you and your supervisor agree on the hiring, please submit a request to enroll in this course through SIS.

I encourage you to sign up for CS 2910 section 001 (16636). By signing up for section 001 (16636), I assume you plan to attend either Tuesday 12:30PM - 1:15PM or Thursday 12:30PM - 1:15PM.

If the scheduled times on Lou's List do not work for you, please list *all* possible times for a meeting using when2meet   (also shown below).   (concluded on 25-Jan-2019)

Currently, I expect that we will have three meeting times per week. After (presumably) all TAs have listed their possible meeting times, I will finalize and email you the third meeting time.

You are required to attend only one meeting per week. We will discuss the same material / content. Therefore, if for some reason you cannot attend your designated meeting time, you may attend another session of the same week.

  1. Tuesday 12:30PM - 1:15PM   (as scheduled on Lou's List)
  2. Thursday 11:15AM - 12:00PM   (based on when2meet, concluded on 25-Jan-2019)
  3. Thursday 12:30PM - 1:15PM   (as scheduled on Lou's List)
  4. Friday 3:00PM - 3:45PM   (based on when2meet, concluded on 25-Jan-2019)

Meeting times

We will begin meeting during the  third  forth week of classes. We will have several meeting times. If Lou's List scheduled times do not work for you, please list *all* possible times for a meeting using when2meet.   (concluded on 25-Jan-2019)

We have four meetings each week; you need to attend only one of them, and may switch which one week-to-week if you wish.

Day Time Place
Tuesday 12:30PM - 1:15PM Rice Hall 340
Thursday 11:15AM - 12:00PM Rice Hall 536
Thursday 12:30PM - 1:15PM Rice Hall 340
Friday 3:00PM - 3:45PM Olsson 001

Some sessions will be mandatory (indicated as [ required ] ) and some are optional (indicated as [ optional ] ). You are required to attend all required sessions and a subset of the optional sessions. You will have an opportunity to vote on the optional topics.

Attending additional instances of the same week does not count toward your minimum session count.

Academic Integrity

The School of Engineering and Applied Science relies upon and cherishes its community of trust. We firmly endorse, uphold, and embrace the University’s Honor principle that students will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor shall they tolerate those who do. We recognize that even one honor infraction can destroy an exemplary reputation that has taken years to build. Acting in a manner consistent with the principles of honor will benefit every member of the community both while enrolled in the Engineering School and in the future.

Students are expected to be familiar with the university honor code, including the section on academic fraud. Each assignment will describe allowed collaborations, and deviations from these will be considered Honor violations. If you are in doubt regarding the requirements, please consult with me before you complete any requirement of this course. Unless otherwise noted, exams and individual assignments will be considered pledged that you have neither given nor received help. (Among other things, this means that you are not allowed to describe problems on an exam to a student who has not taken it yet. You are not allowed to show exam papers to another student or view another student's exam papers while working on an exam.) Send, receiving or otherwise copying electronic files that are part of course assignments are not allowed collaborations (except for those explicitly allowed in assignment instructions).

Assignments or exams where honor infractions or prohibited collaborations occur will receive a zero grade for that entire assignment or exam, as well as a full letter-grade penalty on the course grade. Such infractions will also be submitted to the Honor Committee if that is appropriate. Students who have had prohibited collaborations may not be allowed to work with partners on remaining homeworks.

SDAC and Other Special Circumstances

The University of Virginia strives to provide accessibility to all students. If you require an accommodation to fully access this course, please contact the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC) at 434-243-5180 or If you are unsure if you require an accommodation, or to learn more about their services, you may contact the SDAC at the number above or by visiting their website at

If you have been identified as an SDAC student, please let the Center know you are taking this class. If you suspect you should be an SDAC student, please schedule an appointment with them for an evaluation. Students who need academic accommodations should see me and contact the SDAC. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the SDAC.

If you have other special circumstances (athletics, other university-related activities, etc.) please contact instructor and/or TA as soon as you know these may affect you in class.


Percentage Task
50% TA for your supervisor (they assign this part of your grade)
30% Participate in all six required class sessions and complete in-class activities (5% each)
10% Participate in at least two optional class sessions and complete in-class activities (5% each)
10% End of term paper

End of term paper

The end of term paper will be due the last day of classes, no late submission, no extension. You are required to address one of the following topics:

  1. Curriculum redesign
    • Propose a redrawing of lines between courses, including any changes to the required/elective category of each course for BACS, BSCS, and/or BSCpE; defend why that reorganization would improve the educational quality of our program. Include any risks you can think of: what might make the change fail?
  2. Course improvement
    • Propose specific changes to the content, assignments, and/or flow of the course you are TAing. Try to be clear on how this would change the workload of course staff and the expected benefits to the students. Include any risks you can think of: what might make the change fail?
  3. What I wish I had known about TAing .. but nobody told me.
    • Reflect on your TAing experience and note what you had to learn the hard way, what you still haven’t learned, and what advice or training you wish you had received before you started.

You can format the end of term paper as a Word document or PDF file. No handwriting. Please make your paper direct, to the point, and always justify your assessment. I expect your paper to be 1 to 3 pages. However, no restriction on the number of pages or format of your paper. If you try to make your writeup in 1 paragraph, I will either be very very impressed by how concise you are, or disappointed in how little is said.

You are required to follow the naming format: yourComputingID-2910s19 ( for example, up3f-2910s19.pdf ). Submit your end of term paper to Collab/Assignments/End-of-term paper.

Thanks to Professor Luther Tychonievich, Professor Jeff Offutt, Professor Rich Nguyen, Professor Nada Basit, and Professor Mary Smith for the input and material provided for this course.