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Teaching Assistant Resources


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Schedule of TA Activities

Week 0

CECAS College 2-Day TA Training

ECE TA Orientation and TA Training:

Click here for a copy of the ECE TA Orientation PowerPoint file.

No activity during the first partial week.

Lab Coordinator: Create a single BB Course to communicate with all lab students. Link all lab sections to this course. Break the link to the course once TAs are assigned at the end of the first week.

Week 1
(First full week)

TA Training:

1. Complete the online FERPA training
FERPA Training Website:

Go to the website and click on "What is FERPA?" to begin the presentation. Once you have completed the registration complete the review questions. Click on "Question 1" to begin the process. Do not use the "E-signature"

2. Review the University policies
University polices Website:
Go to the website and click and review the following policies by clicking on the navigation menu links.
"Academic Integrity"
"Amorous Relationships"
"Students with Disabilities"
"Fire Safety"

3. Once you have completed the reviews send an email to the instructor with the following information.
In the subject line put (without the quotes): "Completed TA Training"
In the body:

"I acknowledge that I have read the online FERPA tutorial and reviewed the indicated University Policies. I agree to operate within acceptable FERPA and University guidelines with regard to personal conduct and student information."
Signed: __your name here_ Date: _date here_

Email Class to Introduce Yourself and Indicate Start Date:

(Laboratory Coordinator must first add you as an Instructor to the BlackBoard course.)

Email class to tell them you are their TA and that the class will have the first meeting next week. This will be your means of emailing students during the semester.

My name is ****, and I will be your TA for ECE ****. Our first meeting will be **date and time**, in Riggs **. We will be going over the syllabus as well as Lab 1, so please read Lab 1 in the lab manual before coming to class. The lab manual can be found at the following address:

ECE 2090 TAs Include the following in your email:
ECE 2090 Lab Kits should be purchased from the Clemson IEEE Student Branch. I will have the kits available for purchase during next week's lab. Please bring exactly $40 cash to purchase your kit.

Please feel free to email me with any questions.

** Your TA Contact Information Here**

See the Procedures section below for instructions on using BB for email.

Create Syllabus From Template:

  1. Customize your syllabus using the template that you download here. Filename: "2012S-ECE***-Sect***-Syllabus"
  2. Email a copy to the laboratory coordinator (
  3. Email all of the students in your sections using the email tool in Blackboard. Attach a copy of the syllabus.
  4. Provide a printed copy on the first day of class.

Sample Syllabi for TA Use (not for student use). Change all of the parts highlighted in yellow.


ECE2110 Sum 1
ECE2730 Sum 1
ECE2090 Sum 2
ECE2120 Sum 2
ECE3120 Sum 2

Download Prelab Slides:

Prelabs files are listed below. We are working to evolve these slides into a common tool for all of the sections. Please report any corrections or suggestions. Prelab files:

ECE 2090 Prelabs
ECE2110 Prelabs I-V, ECE2110 Prelabs VI-Final
ECE2120 Prelabs
ECE2730 Prelabs
ECE3110 Prelabs
ECE3120 Prelabs (Password required, contact coordinator)
ECE3720 Prelabs

Week 2
(Second full week)

Lab Sections Meet:

Show the Safety Video. ECE309 TAs use the television in the room and the digital videos on the USB drive. All TAs except ECE309 will use personal laptop. How TAs download the Safety Videos

  1. Log into Black Board
  2. You are enrolled in a Workgroup called "ECE_Laboratory_TAs". Select that Workgroup.
  3. Click on "Information" in the upper left-hand corner of the main screen. I put the lab codes and the videos there.
  4. Click on the "Safety Videos" folder and then right-click on one of the videos and select "Save Target As ..." this will allow you to save it to your local disk (which you should do because it is too slow over the network). It takes a couple of minutes to download on campus. Will need an MP4 player to show the video in class.

Note that these are copyrighted videos and should not be distributed to the students.

Lab Kits for ECE 209/311
Most students will purchase lab kits in ECE2090. Students that have not taken ECE2090 at Clemson or have lost their kits will need to purchase a kit for ECE3110.

1. Send an email to remind your students that they need to bring exactly $40 cash to purchase a lab kit. Here is a suggested email:

"All consumable supplies for the ECE 209/311 labs are in the lab kits. The TA will not supply these parts! It is the responsibility of each student to have the correct supplies (ie the parts in the kit). You may purchase your own supplies from a place like Digikey but it will be more trouble and likely more costly than the kits offered through the IEEE Student Chapter. The following excuses (not an exhaustive list) are not acceptable and will lower participation scores for a particular lab:
* My partner is not here today.
* I forgot my kit.
* I lost the kit from last semester.
* I didn't take 209 at Clemson
It is your responsibility to have the correct components at each lab.

Bring $40 cash or a check made out to "IEEE Clemson" to the next lab meeting to purchase a lab kit."

2. Dr. Reid in 207B has the kits. Since you probably don't have a place to store the kits, pick them up just before your lab meets. Get the kits from Dr. Reid and distribute to the class (collecting $40 from each student). Pay Dr. Reid for the kits.

B2SPICE for Students
B2 SPICE electric circuit simulator is available for use by Clemson Students for uses associated with their courses.

  • This license may not be used for research purposes.
  • This license may not be used by non-Clemson students. Do not share this license or make publicly available.

This license will expire on 8/31/2014 at which time a new student license will be available. To download B2 Spice A/D v5, click or cut-and-paste the following link into your browser:
Once downloaded (72mb file), run the installer to install B2 Spice A/D v5

The PDF manual can be downloaded at: (10mb zip file)

After installing B2 Spice v5, please save the license file "Spice_AD_v5-Student.ldf" into the B2 Spice v5 directory, overwriting the existing license file. Once the file is saved, run B2 Spice v5 and go to the Help->License/Registration menu and click on the "load license from file" button and select "Spice_AD_v5-Student.ldf" to enable your license. Students should contact their TA for a copy of the license file and TAs should contact the laboratory coordinator (Dr. Harrell).

To verify that the license has installed correctly, your name (and company, if applicable) should be filled in and the License Type field should be "standard".

Electronic submission for the lab reports and quizzes

You can use electronic submission for the lab reports if you wish. BB has a facility called Turnitin that you can use to collect and grade the reports.

  • Cons: It is sometimes harder to mark errors using the electronic form
  • Pros: You can save common comments and reuse without retyping. The grades should go directly into the BB grade book.
  • It is up to you as the TA which is your personal preference, paper or electronic. At least two TAs will use electronic.

You could also give any quizzes through BB. It is easy to set up and then the grading is automatic (for multiple choice).

Weeks 3-14

Use BlackBoard to store your grades and communicate with the students.

Complete a Training Course:

As a Teaching Assistant, you should be improving your teaching skills and considering the role of teaching in your career plans. The Clemson University Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovations (OTEI) offers free courses to faculty and graduate students. All TAs should take one such class during the semester.

2nd to Last Week of Classes

Lab TA Evaluations:

The students in the laboratory classes will be asked to complete an evaluation of the TA. Seven questions will be poised as Opinion Scale/Likert statements with the following response choices:
Strongly Agree, Agree, Neither Agree nor Disagree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree, Not Applicable. The seven questions are:

  • Competence in lab-related theory.
  • Overall effectiveness in communication skills.
  • Competence in working with equipment.
  • Patience and willingness to help students.
  • Fairness in grading.
  • Dependability and organization in running lab.
  • Dependability in maintaining office hours.

We will perform the Lab TA evaluations electronically through BB via the "Student Assessment of Instructors". Everything will be done for you and you do not have to do anything. If you want to check response rates, you can log on to "Student Assessment of Instructors - Faculty Access". You must log into the system under the purple box in MY CLE using your USER ID. Click on the menu item View Responses and Summary Reports. Please DO NOT click on "Activate All Evaluations Now."

Send an email to all of your students with the following message. Send them a reminder copy next week.

All ECE laboratory teaching assistants will be evaluated through the BB interface via the "Student Assessment of Instructors". Log on and look for your lab section (it may have a label containing "midterm evaluation", just ignore that). Your feedback is extremely valuable to the TAs and the ECE Department. For example, the Department selects the outstanding TA award based on student feedback. Note that you are ONLY evaluating the performance of your teaching assistant. We do want to know about your experience in the lab if you have complaints or suggestions about the content, equipment, or how well the classes match the lectures please email them to Dr. Rod Harrell (
Thank you for your participation

Final Week of Classes

Submit Final Grades:

Your lab grades are due on the last day of the last week of classes (before final exam week).

  1. Send a single email with the following information:
    • Subject of email: Laboratory Grades: ECE** - Section ***
    • Semester grades for all students in the form of a list in the *body* of the email, not as an attachment. Please list the student's grades on separate lines in the note in alphabetical order by last name, e.g.:
      • Student: Final Grade:
      • Doe, Jane: A
      • Doe, John: B
      • Everyman, John: A
      • etc...
      • (This is the same order in which your students' names appear on the roll). Please send me a separate email note for *each section* of each lab, and identify the course and section number in the subject field of the note.
  2. An MS Excel spreadsheet named ECE** - Section *** that you used to keep track of individual lab grades, test grades, etc. during the semester (export from Blackboard if needed and save as an Excel file, click here for instructions for exporting from BB).
  3. For ECE 3720, ECE 3110, and ECE 3120 attach a second spreadsheet named ECE** - Section *** ABET that has the additional evaluations.

After you have sent me your grades and I have had a chance to review them, I will send you a short reply confirming that I received the grades and that everything appears to be in order. Please make sure that you have received this confirmation from me before you leave Clemson for the semester break.

Confirmation email: "I have received your grades and all appears to be in order. Thank you for your hard work this semester."

Submit ABET Worksheet:

For all ECE 3720, ECE 3110, and ECE 3120 labs (ignore this if you don't have one of these labs).
We need an additional assessment for the ABET accreditation files. Please complete the linked MS Excel workbook for each lab section. Use the report and project scores to help assess the specific topics.

ABET Assessment Form (MS Excel)

Noon on the Wednesday after final exam week

Download TA Evaluations:

Evaluations are not available for the TA to review UNTIL afternoon on the Wednesday after the exam week (after the time when all student grades are due).

  1. Log into Blackboard using your employee ID (not your student ID)
  2. Select the "Courses" tab
    1. Find the "Student Assessment of Instructors" area
    2. Push the Purple Button labeled "Student Assessment of Instructors - Faculty Access"
  3. In the vertical menu on the left-hand side, select "View Responses and Summary Reports"
    1. "Select semester for reports": find the current semester
    2. "Select Course": find course and section
    3. Select the gray button "Download Summary", it will initiate creation and download of a "RTF" file that you can view in MS Word.
  4. Repeat for each section

Your main goal is to understand what the students are telling you so that you can improve next semester. Look at the scores and see how your scores compared to the averages in the department. The written comments are often the most helpful (and hurtful). You may see conflicting comments, e.g."Best TA" and "Worst TA" for the same section. Consider the overall scores and tone of the comments to form ways that you can react to improve next semester.


ECE 2730 Login Problems:

If students having trouble getting access to their COES accounts they'll need to email Trae King ( and let him know they need an account made. These are for SSH into COES Linux machines and using the cesmount command on the iMacs. If they're just trying to login to the iMacs, there is only one account with username 'eceuser' and password 'riggs321'. Clemson login credentials will not work on the iMacs in Riggs.

Procedure for sending email in Blackboard:

Log in into Blackboard and select "Courses"
Select the course of interest, e.g. "tburg-ECE209-Sect14"
Select "Course Tools" and then "Send Email" on the left-hand side menu
Select "All Student Users" (unless you feel the laboratory coordinator needs a copy in which case you can select "All Users")
Type the subject and message in the email tool.
Select "Submit"

email instructions