Illinois CS Course Assistants
Apply to be a CS Course Assistant!
Being a Course Assistant
Why be a course assistant (CA)? You get teaching and mentorship experience, as well as work experience, which is a great resume booster! You can help improve courses you’ve taken that you think need improvement. You will learn the material better than you did when you took that course. You get great satisfaction from helping others. You can make more and stronger connections with students and other staff members. You get paid!
Who can be a CA? Requirements vary between courses and instructors; look carefully at the requirements for individual positions. It may not require having earned an A in the course. It may not require that you have taken the course; merely having experience in something could be sufficient!
What will I do as a CA? You will likely do some mentoring, tutoring, and/or grading. Some course staff positions carry additional or different responsibilities than those; you may be able to contribute in ways that you did not know were part of the operations. Smaller enrollment courses may have different needs and responsibilities than larger enrollment courses.
What do I need to do to become a CA? Apply for CA opportunities in the portal. You can also talk to previous instructors about their potential opportutities for CAs. See if you can make contact with a previous staff member for their thoughts on positions. Sign up for Professor Colleen Lewis’s Course Assistant Training (below).
When should I apply? Opportunities will be posted within the last six weeks of a semester.
Course Assistant Training
What is the Course Assistant Training? This course is designed for students working as or interested in becoming a Course Assistant (CAs) in the Computer Science Department. The goal of the course is to help students learn the skills and knowledge they need to be awesome CAs (i.e., encouraging and impactful). Topics include: (a) principles of learning, (b) motivating students, (c) tutoring practices, (d) encouraging effective collaboration, (e) grading practices, (f) developing a positive classroom community, and (g) ethical considerations. Current Course Assistants who have not completed the course are encouraged to enroll. Students can participate entirely asynchronously.
Who Should Participate? The Course Assistant Training is open to any student who is working as or interested in becoming a Course Assistant in the computer science department.
Course Dates and Format The course is offered every semester and can be taken either synchronously with the instructor or asynchronously online.
Questions? Contact Colleen Lewis
About the Professor
Colleen Lewis is an Assistant Professor of computer science (CS) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Lewis was previously the McGregor-Girand Associate Professor of CS at Harvey Mudd College. At the University of California, Berkeley, Lewis completed a PhD in science and mathematics education, an MS in computer science, and a BS in electrical engineering and computer science. Her research seeks to identify and remove barriers to CS learning and understand and optimize CS learning. Lewis curates CSTeachingTips.org, a NSF-sponsored project for disseminating effective CS teaching practices. Lewis has received the NCWIT.org Undergraduate Mentoring Award and the AnitaB.org Emerging Leader Award for her efforts to broaden participation in computing.