TA Roles and Responsibilities

As a TA, you may fill a variety of instructional roles at UNL. Depending on the department, you may simply grade students' papers and hold office hours, or you could lead a recitation session or even assume full responsibility for a course. Here are some examples of typical TA roles and responsibilities, according to the duties you are assigned.

Your RoleYour Responsibilities
Assisting the Professor Help design the course, construct tests, prepare materials, grade assignments, maybe teach a class session or two. Understand the objectives and learning goals the professor has set for the students so you can communicate course materials to them; know the professor's expectations of you.
Holding Office Hours Work with students one-on-one; learn about problems they are having with the course material. Schedule and adhere to regular office hours; motivate students to see you during office hours; schedule office hours when students are available or right after class when students are most likely to have questions; provide your office phone number or e-mail address.
Grading Papers or Exams Grade tests, exams, essays, quizzes, lab notebooks. Understand the course content and be able to follow a student's thinking to interpret answers that might not be complete; be consistent so your grading is fair and reliable; know your department's grading procedures and policies and work with your course supervisor to develop grading criteria; become familiar with your department's and the University's policies on academic integrity; develop strategies for dealing with angry or aggressive students.
Lead Recitations or Discussions Meet scheduled classes and lead discussions, answer questions, clarify materials. Identify critical information from lectures or readings and then elaborate on it to help students understand the material; attend class lectures so you understand what the students need to know; in some cases, be responsible for testing and grading students' work.
Conduct Lab Sessions Review experiments beforehand, ask and answer student questions, and evaluate students' lab work. Know safety procedures and provide a safe environment in which students can work; prepare for lab experiments or assignments; learn how to guide students' thinking and deal with questions without giving away the answers.
Teach Studio Courses Motivate students in a creative direction even though the end product is not clearly defined. Know the expectations for studio projects and how you will communicate these expectations to your students; share a variety of visual examples with students; be aware of your department's resources to determine what teaching aids/tools are available and where you can find them.
Instructor of Record; Full Responsibility Make independent decisions about the course including the course design, the types of tests you will use, and how you will grade your students. Learn the basics of instructional design; develop a course syllabus based on learning objectives; plan individual class sessions; allow yourself time to plan and develop objectives for each class; check with your department secretary on administrative matters; for questions related to your course assignment, talk to the faculty member in charge of the course.