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.

Fall 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 special topics and sessions.

Instructor contact

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.

We encourage you to sign up for CS 2910 sections 002 (class number 16695) or 004 (class number 19718). By signing up for sections 002 (class number 16695) or 004 (class number 19718), we assume you plan to attend either Th 3:30PM - 4:15PM or Fr 10:00AM - 10:45AM weekly.

If the scheduled times on Lou's List do not work for you, we will be offering 2 additional sessions per week. For those sessions to be best scheduled, please list *all* possible times for a course meeting using when2meet   (concluded on 13-Sep-2019, 12pm). It is important that you list *all* possible times. Please note, each class meeting is 45 minutes. Therefore, please be sure all time slots are at least 45-minutes long.

Currently, We expect that CS 2910 will have four meeting times per week. After (presumably) all TAs have listed their possible meeting times, We will finalize and email you the remaining meeting times.

You are required to attend one meeting per week. We will discuss the same material / content in subsequent meetings each week. Therefore, if for some reason you cannot attend your designated meeting time, you may attend another session of the same week. Please remember to plan ahead. If you need to miss a Friday meeting time, you must attend an earlier meeting that week.

  1. Thursday 3:30PM - 4:15PM   (as scheduled on Lou's List)
  2. Friday 10:00AM - 10:45AM   (as scheduled on Lou's List)
  3. Friday 2:00PM - 2:45PM   (based on when2meet), concluded on 13-Sep-2019, 12pm
  4. Friday 3:15PM - 4:00PM   (based on when2meet), concluded on 13-Sep-2019, 12pm

Meeting times

We will begin meeting during the  third  forth week of classes. We have four meetings each week; you need to attend one of them. There is no make-up session.

Day Time Place
Thursday 3:30PM - 4:15PM Rice Hall 032
Friday 10:00AM - 10:45AM Thornton E304
Friday 2:00PM - 2:45PM Olsson 018
Friday 3:15PM - 4:00PM Olsson 018

Sessions and topics will be listed on the Schedule page. Some sessions will be mandatory (indicated as [ required ] ) and some are special topics (indicated as [ special-topic ] ). You are required to attend all required sessions and a subset of the special-topic sessions. You will have an opportunity to vote on the special 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 special topic 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. We expect your paper to be 1 to 3 pages, single/double space (you decide). However, no restriction on the number of pages or format of your paper. If you try to make your writeup in 1 paragraph, we 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-2910F19 ( for example, up3f-2910F19.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.