Helpful Hints for CAs

Care and Feeding of CAs

The following information is to all EE Faculty to inform them about departmental expectations on Course Assistants: Care and Feeding of CAs

Enrollment and Grading Deadlines

Enrollment deadlines follow the same pattern each term, but the specific weeks and dates vary due to the varying lengths of Stanford's quarters and the various ways of counting the weeks in a term. This information is determined by the Office of the University Registrar.

Deadlines of the following can be found on the Stanford Academic Calendar.

For details regarding grade notations, incompletes, and course retakes, please visit:

Hints for Replying to Email

It has become apparent that email from students is becoming increasingly time consuming. Most CAs feel obliged to respond as soon as possible, which may be interfering with their other responsibilities. Instead, CAs should plan their response times/days so that students will not expect instantaneous replies and can plan accordingly.  A suggestion would be to plan 3 hours per week spaced like office hours.  When announcing your office hours you can just include your email response schedule. It is advisable to ask people to copy the instructor and any fellow CAs and, in turn, have whoever answers the email copy the others so that there won't be duplication of efforts.  If students ask for assistance and submit their request in an appropriate timeframe, CAs should ensure that student inquiries are accommodated in a timely manner.

CA Evaluations

Mid-quarter CA evaluations are given during weeks 4 and 6.  CAs will be prompted to email their students to fill out the evaluation. CA evaluations are anonymous; however, students may leave their names if the course permits extra credit.  The names will not be associated with the submitted evaluation. 

Course Assistants should encourage their students to complete the evaluation.  This feedback is not only critical to becoming a more effective CA, but will also be used to make decisions about future CA positions.

The CA evaluation is comprised of 2 sections: a rating scale and open-ended questions.

Part 1.  Comment on the CA or Section Leader’s teaching abilities by marking one choice on a five point scale (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Average, and Poor)

  1. Technical knowledge of course material                          
  2. Preparation for labs, office hours, and review sections            
  3. Clarifies confusing or unclear course materials                      
  4. Motivates your interest in learning                                            
  5. Provides useful suggestions and/or responses when asked questions
  6. Effectiveness in guiding discussions and staying on topic  
  7. Encourages participation/engagement in discussion review sections, and/or labs
  8. Overall performance          

Part 2.  Open-ended Questions

  1. Do you think the TA was sufficiently available during the course to answer questions or concerns (i.e. office hours, e-mail, review sections, etc.)?  If no, please explain. 
  2. If you could change anything about office hours, what would it be?
  3. What are the TA’s teaching strengths?
  4. What can the TA do to improve the quality of the sections, review sections, and/or lab for the remainder of the quarter? Please be specific.
  5. Additional comments, suggestions, and/or concerns