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Graduate Program

Procedures for Lab TAs

Roles of Teaching Assistants and Interns in the Introductory Undergraduate Laboratories

Teaching Assistants and Interns play a critical role in the undergraduate laboratories. They a the primary point of contact for the students, and as such are in the best student to ensure that the students success.

The goals of the undergraduate laboratories are to present selected concepts from the course material in an active learning environment and to teach some basic physical laboratory skills, such a graphing and statistical analysis and the use of timers, oscilloscopes, digital voltmeters, etc. For students to be successful, they may require help in mastering lab skills and techniques, often with demonstration by example, and they may need assistance in making the connection between material in class and in the laboratories. The small group environment allows for one-on-one interactions between laboratory teachers and the students.

Before Laboratory (both Teaching Interns and Teaching Assistants)

  • Practice laboratories before the start of term to ensure familiarity with equipment and data analysis
  • Prepare brief introductions to the lab for the students (see below)

Duties in Lab (shared by Teaching Interns and Teaching Assistants)

  • Present a brief introduction to the physics and techniques of the laboratory at the start of each lab
  • Closely watch on student progress, offering assistance and encouragement as needed
  • Remind students of time progress in the laboratory to help them pace their work 
  • Make records of student attendance at the start of each lab 
  • Collect pre-lab work at the start of lab and post-lab reports at the end of the lab period 
  • Ensure equipment is left in a state ready for use by the next laboratory
  • Report defective or difficult equipment so it can be repaired or replaced

After Laboratory (Teaching Assistants Only)

  • Participate in end-of-lab grading sessions 
  • Complete a rubric explaining grading criteria at the time of grading
  • Enter grades into the grading computer and submit attendance sheets as backup