Columbia Computer Science Instructional Assistant Page

FAQ

TA/CA Application

Q: I do not have a MICE account. Who should I contact?

Undergraduates should contact us at advising@cs.columbia.edu. Graduates should contact us at gradvising@cs.columbia.edu.

Q: I am off-campus. How do I access my MICE account?

Please follow instructions here.

Q: Do I need letters of recommendations to apply for a TA/CA position?

No, except for the MS CA fellow position (there will be specific forms to apply and submit recommendations, that are sent to MS students every semester).

Q: I am having problems logging into MICE, or having technical issues when using MICE.

Please contact us at mice-support@cs.columbia.edu.

Q: My grades are not showing up for past courses on MICE. What should I do?

If the courses are taken in Columbia, please contact Student Services at advising@cs.columbia.edu for undergraduates and gradvising@cs.columbia.edu for graduates.

If the courses are taken outside of Columbia, you may upload these external course imports/waivers to MICE by following the instructions here.

General

Q: What requirements are instructors looking for when deciding to appoint a TA/CA?

Requirements may differ across instructor and classes, though a common requirement is proficiency in the class material, typically demonstrated through good performance in the same class or a similar one in the past. When classes are missing qualified applications, we will advertise the positions and the necessary requirements under Announcement on the AI main webpage, and ask that students contact the appropriate professor. Other than this, applicants do not need to contact instructors when applying on MICE, although they may if they have specific high qualifications (especially for graduate classes).

Q: How do I know if I have been selected as a TA/CA?

You will receive an email from the IA Chair.

Q: I am confused about the TA/CA units. Can you explain?

A TA/CA unit is loosely defined as being a TA/CA for 20-25 students (depending on the course). The automatic assignment email from MICE always explicitly specifies the number of units assigned (0.5, 1, or 2 -- 1 being the most common). If still in doubt, please send an email to iachair [at] cs.columbia.edu.

Q: My course has registered CVN (Columbia Video Network) students. Have I been assigned as a TA/CA for them too?

If the course has CVN students and if there are more than one TA/CAs for the course, then the instructor will need to decide which TA/CA will be responsible for CVN students.

Q: How many hours per week I am supposed to perform my duties as a TA/CA?

The specific division of work for each TA/CA is up to the instructor of the class, although typically each TA/CA unit corresponds to 2 weekly office hours.

Q: Am I expected to help students who are not officially registered for the course?

You do not have to grade auditors’ work and do not have to spend office hours helping them.

Q: How do I get added to courseworks for the course I am TA/CAing?

The instructor of the class should be able to add you. Please contact him/her.

Q: Is there an award to reward TA/CAing excellence?

The department confers the Andrew P Kosoresow Memorial Award for outstanding performance in TA/CAing. Criteria include evaluations by their supervising faculty and feedback from students in courseworks or other forms.

Students who want to nominate TA/CAs for this award should email the instructor of the class. Instructors who want to nominate TA/CAs for the award should do so during the appropriate faculty meeting (around March each year) or by sending email to the IA Chair (iachair[at] cs.columbia.edu)

Q: I may need extra printing quotas. Can I get a quote upgrades from the department?

TA/TAIIIs in the CS department are designated as Student Officers by CUIT and are granted additional printing quotes. This requires no additional actions from the incoming TA/TAIIIs.

Q: Can I be a TA/CA for a class that I am also taking at the same time?

In general this is discouraged, but in some cases this is appropriate. Ultimately this is up to the instructor in the class, who will decide whether this is acceptable, and how to handle grading of the TA/CA.

Payment Issues

Q: When will I get paid?

You will be paid semi-monthly. The payments will be on the 15th and the last day of each month.

Q: I had already applied and paid for a CS account before I was assigned as a TA/CA? How do I get refunded?

If you have already paid for a CS account by credit card, you will be refunded only if you apply for a refund request within 30 days of your payment. The CS account credit card payments are processed by www.kagi.com. To apply for a refund request, send an email to refund@kagi.com. Also send a separate email to iacoord@cs.columbia.edu and cc’ crf@cs.columbia.edu with the subject 'TA/CA: CS Account Refund Request'.

Here is Kagi’s official refund policy:

You can request a refund within 30 days of the purchase by sending an email to refund@kagi.com. Please include the transaction information in the email and explain why you are requesting a refund. When we initiate a refund, we will send an email to both you and the product supplier. We notify the product supplier to give the supplier the opportunity to resolve the reason for your refund request. Refund requests that have not been resolved within 2 weeks are processed and, for credit card purchases, the refund should then appear on your credit card statement.

Q: I was a TA/CA last semester and will be a TA/CA again this semester. Do I need to complete any paper work?

Generally, you do not need to complete any paper work.

Office Hours

Q: Where should I hold my office hours?

If you are an undergrad or MS student, you should hold your office hours ONLY in the TA room. If you are a PhD student you may hold your office hours in your office or in your research lab.

Q: How many hours of OHs shall I hold every week?

For each TA/CA unit, you should hold two hours of office hours every week.

Q: Am I supposed to hold OHs during the first week of classes?

Yes.

Q: Am I supposed to hold OHs during the last week of classes?

Yes.

Q: Am I supposed to hold OHs during reading days?

Yes.

TA/CA Room

Q: It has been one week since I was assigned as a TA/CA. I don't have swipe access to the TA room. What should I do?

Incoming TA/CAs are granted swipe access to the TA/CA room, but since the requests are sent to the Public Safety department in batches, these requests typically take about a week to be processed. Please send an email to the IA Coordinator (iacoord[at]cs.columbia.edu) if you are not able to access the TA room after 1.5 weeks from the TA/CA assignment. If you need access to the TA room urgently during this time, you can make appropriate arrangement with the IA Coordinator.

Q: The printer in the TA room is not working. What should I do?

Send an email to crf[at]cs.columbia.edu.

Q: Where is the TA/CA room?

You refer to the directions here.