List of Projects ESaaS: Managing Distributed Teams Teacher Assistant Role - What are my responsibilities as a TA?

Teacher Assistant Role - What are my responsibilities as a TA?

Updated over 6 years ago by Bill Walker
As a teaching assistant
In order to facilitate student learning
I would like to understand my responsibilities

TA Responsibilities
  • Know and abide by the TA's Creed.
  • Know and abide by the Guidelines for Supporting Students.
  • Know and abide by the Basic Guidelines for Forum Decorum.
  • Be familiar with the concept of educational scaffolding.
  • Use the SaaS TA Skype chat to coordinate monitoring of discussions with other TAs. (TODO do we have a calendar for this??)
  • Monitor the class forums (TODO are we still using these??), the course Skype chat, and the course IRC chat.
  • Organize pair programming sessions to facilitate student collaboration, and encourage students to start their own sessions.
  • Discourage sharing of code outside of pair sessions.

TA's Creed (Adapted from
    A TA is...

  • Responsible and respectful. 
  • Relevant, informative and resourceful..
  • Actively engaged with the courseware.
  • A facilitator.
Guidelines for Supporting Students (
  • Encourage students to become independent learners and as much as possible figure out answers on their own, while at the same time helping students bypass needless roadblocks to learning.
  • Provide correct, relevant, and clear information provided to students.
  • Ensure a culture of collaboration (not about who has the right answer).
  • Strive to make the forum a place that students actually enjoy going to for discussion about class topics.

Basic Guidelines for Forum Decorum (
  • Maintain civility.
  • Cut off discussions that are no longer going anywhere or helping anybody.
  • Be helpful without simply giving away the solution.
  • Keep threads on topic.

Educational Scaffolding

  • Instructional scaffolding is a learning process designed to promote a deeper level of learning. Scaffolding is the support given during the learning process which is tailored to the needs of the student with the intention of helping the student achieve his/her learning goals
  • The intention is to supply sufficient support to promote learning when concepts and skills are first being introduced - may include the following: resources, a compelling task, templates and guides, guidance on the development of cognitive and social skills
  • AVOID telling the learner exactly how to accomplish the task - do not solve the problem for them
  • use in various contexts: modeling a task, giving advice, providing coaching
  • Supports are gradually removed as students develop their own autonomous learning strategies

Which of the following best describes a TA?

  • Drill Sergeant
  • Relevant, informative, and resourceful project manager
  • Actively engaged and creating new courseware
  • A facilitator


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