Provided materials and services

Course material

Many course materials are available on the course website. Course notes will be supplied by your IS Coordinator and, unless otherwise specified, are yours to keep.

Textbooks may be signed out by the staff from the Undergraduate Administrative Co-ordinator in DC 3102. ISAs are responsible for returning these textbooks at the end of the term.


ISAs, IAs and TAs are given accounts on the undergrad computing environment, student.cs. In addition, there are course accounts (e.g. cs241@student.cs) for which mail can be forwarded to the appropriate person.

Electronic classrooms

Many classrooms in the Registrar's inventory include a computer and data projector. All ISAs are given Nexus accounts so that they may use these computers. Note however that a key to the electronic classroom podiums must be obtained from Instructional Technologies and Multimedia Services (ITMS).


  • Mailboxes for grad IAs and TAs are located in DC 2583.
  • Mail addressed to permanent faculty and staff can be placed directly in their slot in the mail room inside the main departmental office (DC 2326).
  • Inter-departmental and off-campus mail should be placed in the appropriate basket located in the mail room.

Offices and keys

Shared offices are provided for ISAs in the Davis Centre. Offices are equipped with desks, tables, chairs, a telephone, and bookshelves. Some offices have filing cabinets and most have computers or terminals. Keys are available for all locking desks and cabinets, and usually can be found inside the top drawer of each unit. IAs and TAs have grad students' offices.

There should not be student traffic in the area of our offices for confidentiality and privacy concerns; this is one of the purposes of the Consulting Centre. Please respect the right of your fellow office mates to mark and complete their other work in an environment conducive to that end.

Key control forms for office keys and required lab keys are issued at the beginning of the term and must be returned at the end of the term. ISAs, IAs and TAs obtain their forms from the CS department receptionist. Every ISA, IA and TA must exchange a signed key control form in person for keys at the Key Control department located in GSC 105C.

At the end of the term, do NOT return keys to Key Control!

  • Office keys should be returned to the department Receptionist
  • AV keys should be returned to ITMS in CHIP.

Secretarial services

ISAs may require the services of an administration assistant for duplication of course-related material and room booking. Please consult your IS Coordinator first when any secretarial support is needed.


Educational resources

  • Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE)

    CTE provides programs and resources to support the development of those who teach at UW.

  • IST Computer Help and Information Place (CHIP)

    CHIP is a one-stop facility for delivering many Information Systems and Technologies (IST) services to the UW community.

  • Library

    Use of the library system is a privilege granted to all members of the university community. The DC library is particularly useful to staff for placing textbooks or solution sets on reserve for use by students. Always consult with the course instructor or IS Coordinator first. Allow for a week before the material becomes available to the students. Texts already in the library can be placed on reserve.


On occasion, staff may feel that the needs of a student are best served by referring the individual to one of the following counselling services available on campus:


Physical activities

Students on campus, students on a co-op term, and staff all have different rates for use of the campus recreational services. These rates are listed on the membership web page.


Work Report for ISAs

Suggested timeline

Students often feel that the work report is something best left to the end of the term; during the term, they wish to give first priority to the job at hand. It has been ISG's experience that leaving the Work Report to the end has been unsatisfactory. Here are a few reasons:

  • By the end of the term, students are often left struggling to choose a topic.
  • ISCs often take holidays at or near the end of a term, making it difficulty for the student to get feedback.
  • Work report topics frequently involve surveys. Surveys need time; they need to be approved by Office of Research Ethics (see the section on collecting information), and they need to be distributed.

A suggested timeline follows:

  • Week 2-3: Decide on a topic for your report. This can be the hardest part. If you get this done early, the rest will flow more smoothly.
  • Week 4-5: Create a very rough outline of your report. This may consist of a list of 6-8 points or headings, so it need not be long or involved. Submit the draft to ISG.
  • Week 6-11: Adust the focus of your report if required. Collect data for the statistical/analytical portion of your report, if applicable.
  • Week 12-13: Submit a draft of your report to ISG.
  • Week 14-15: Polish your report, and resubmit, if requested.
  • Week 16: Submit a final copy of your report for signature.

Choosing a topic

Choosing a topic is the hardest part. ISAs often struggle with a topic because it is different than a job where they are assigned a particular task or programming project. There are a variety of directions that an ISA may choose. Here are a few, along with some topics that have been written by past ISAs:

  1. Technical:
    • Online Submission of UML Diagrams
    • Using ICQ in the Labs
    • Using [a particular piece of software] in a course
  2. Teaching/pedagogy:
    • Predictors of Success in a Computer Science Course
    • Evaluation of the CS100 project as a learning tool
  3. Operational/service provision:
    • Operation of the CS Consulting Centre
    • A Lab Instructor Guide for CS100 ISAs
    • Improving Performance Feedback in CS134
  4. Course Specific delivery:
    • Analysis of Group Experiences in CS130
    • Assigning Group Members

Caution: Think narrow! The single biggest problem that ISAs have with work reports is that they choose a topic that is far too broad for the length of the report. The result is a report with no depth, and one that is of no value to anyone. You will do a much better job if you choose a topic that is very narrow in focus. For example,

  • Unwise choice: "Suggestions for Improving CS116";
  • Better alternative: "Improving CS116 Assignments";
  • Even better: "Designing CS116 Assignments to Minimize Plagiarism".

Sources of ideas:

Your ISC may have a particular topic that may be beneficial to them. In addition, talk to your fellow ISAs to see if they can inspire your topic! Maybe you and a fellow ISA can share an idea, and each focus on a different aspect of the same topic.