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Graduate Teaching assistants 2021-2022

Some of this page is out of date. It is being updated.

What does the role of graduate teaching assistant involve?

Graduate Teaching assistants (GTAs) support student learning and are integral to delivery of high quality teaching and learning within the Department of Computer Science. GTA duties involve explaining and demonstrating concepts to students, marking work, and helping with a wide range of teaching activities. Working as a GTA is a unique experience, enabling development of teaching, team-working and organisational skills, and provides an excellent opportunity to gain teaching skills suitable for a future academic career. An overview of the kind of duties GTAs may carry out are provided in the Faculty job description.

This page provides information to current and prospective GTAs, including: eligibility, payment, responsibilities, training, and development. It is hoped this answers most questions, however please do get in contact if you have any questions about the role or duties.

Oliver Rhodes & Viktor Schlegel

GTA Academic Leads, Dept. Computer Science.

Eligibility and requirements

  • GTAs must be legally eligible for paid employment in the UK.
  • All categories of students are eligible to be GTAs but note:
    • The depth of subject knowledge required to teach students studying an HE degree means that in most cases GTAs will be required to hold a masters degree and be studying a postgraduate research qualification, e.g. a PhD.
    • Due to the symbiotic benefit of studying and teaching in the same field the appointment of students of Computer Science will be favoured over students studying other disciplines.
    • In the event of failure to fill a GTA post from within Computer Science a GTA from another school may be appointed.

Payment and hours of work (2020/21 hourly rates)

TAs are paid for their work at an hourly rate according to their experience.

Experience Incremental point Hourly rate
1st year Point 1 £15.12
2nd year Point 2 £15.57
3rd year Point 3 £16.03
4th year Point 4 £16.51
5th year Point 5 £17.00
6th year Point 6 £17.51
  • GTAs receive a contract of employment from HR and are paid for the hours worked at the end of each month. If you have any questions about your contract please contact HR.
  • Some PhD students may be required to undertake a number of (paid) hours teaching as part of their funding agreement. Your offer letter will say whether this applies to you. If it does, please fill in the application form, and make sure you are available for work during the teaching periods.
  • It is essential that all GTAs complete an Hours Worked sheet, which should be sent by email to the relevant Course Unit Leader requesting approval. This form should contain all the hours which are worked on GTA duties. Please copy COMP-TA-ADMIN on all such emails and the course unit leaders will approve to us by email. The deadline to submit Hours Worked forms is the 5th of each month. If you miss this deadline then the hours will be paid the following month.
  • Many GTAs undertake work only during timetabled hours. Duties may also include activities, such as marking, outside of timetabled hours. GTAs will be paid at the hourly rate for such duties.
  • You must attend all teaching sessions that are assigned to you. If you cannot attend for a good reason, please try to make alternative arrangements as soon as possible (see 'Missing a class').
  • Payslips are viewable via MyView, and will provide information on any deductions such as tax or national insurance

Supporting Teaching & Learning

GTAs are here to help students, so it is important that they are able to explain the subject matter and fully understand the teaching materials. GTAs must therefore ensure they fill in the application form accurately, and are up to date on the skills and technologies used in their allocated course units. Course unit leaders will provide GTAs with teaching materials in good time to prepare for specific sessions and discuss any problems. They will also explain clearly what is required of their GTAs and provide opportunities to discuss the work.

GTAs are expected to be in labs and available to work promptly from the moment labs and teaching sessions begin. To ensure that they are present from the beginning GTAs are advised to arrive five minutes in advance of the lab. GTAs are expected to prepare for teaching and learning activities in their own time, and should discuss preparation payment with course unit leaders. If a GTA is unclear about what is expected, it is important they let the course unit leader know as soon as possible. It is vital GTAs have a good understanding of the teaching materials in order to best support students and mark accurately. Where possible it is recommended to speak to GTAs who have worked on the course unit before, and may be able to offer advice based on 'hands-on' experience.

In the event that a GTA is unable to attend a class they must try to arrange for a suitably qualified colleague to undertake their teaching on an exchange or swap basis, subject to obtaining approval of the course unit leader. If swapping duties with another GTA cannot be arranged, or a GTA is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, contact COMP-TA-ADMIN explaining which session you cannot attend.

Attendance of GTAs is monitored and GTAs will need to explain any unauthorised absence to the course unit leader.

Training and Development

All GTAs are expected to undertake initial training to help prepare them for their role. This training is provided through the FSE GTA Training Hub, and consists of a range of compulsory Core Modules, and optional Role Dependent Modules. Effort should be made to complete the mandatory courses as soon as possible, however it is acknowledged that GTA activities may start before certain courses are scheduled, particularly in the first semester. Attendance of these training courses is paid at the hourly rate: a certificate will be awarded on completion of each course, which should be submitted with a monthly timesheet to COMP-TA-ADMIN in order to claim for payment.

The mandatory training also forms a key part of supporting GTAs in achieving Associate Fellowship with the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). This is a nationally recognised qualification in the HE sector, and is a useful way to demonstrate teaching skills in a future job application (whether in academia or industry). In addition to the FSE training, GTAs will need to develop and map their skills to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). Support is in place to help GTAs complete this process through the FSE LEAP programme. GTAs keen to develop their skills in a particular area should discuss opportunities to gain experience with their course unit leader, or with GTA academic leads.

Dealing with problems

If you encounter any problems when you are teaching, or you are unhappy with any aspect of the working environment, speak to the lab supervisor in the first instance. If it is not possible to reach a resolution, or you have any general concerns, contact Oliver Rhodes or Viktor Schlegel, the Department of Computer Science GTA Academic Leads.

Be aware that the University Dignity at Work Policy covers TAs

Information around academic malpractice can be found on the CS wiki