Provided materials and services

Course material

Most course materials are available on course websites/online. Course textbooks can be borrowed from DC 2136 if needed, with permission from the instructor or ISC. 

For any additional course materials not avaiable online, contact the ISC or instructor of the course. 


ISAs are given accounts on the undergrad computing environment, student.cs. In addition, there are course accounts (e.g. for which mail can be forwarded to the course staff.

Offices and keys

Shared offices are provided for ISAs in Mathematics and Computer building (MC). Offices are equipped with desks, tables, chairs, and computer monitors. Full-time ISAs are also provided with laptops. Keys are available for 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 staff to mark and complete their other work in an environment conducive to that end.

Keys to the ISA offices or the CS Consulting Centre are distributed by the Undergraduate Administrative Coordinator

Room Bookings

If additional classrooms are needed for office hours, marking meetings, or review sessions, please contact the Undergraduate Administrative Coordinator


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 UW Athletics membership webpage.


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 the 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: Adjust 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 may 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 CS 100 project as a learning tool
  3. Operational/service provision:
    • Operation of the CS Consulting Centre
    • A Lab Instructor Guide for CS 100 ISAs
    • Improving Performance Feedback in CS 135
  4. Course Specific delivery:
    • Analysis of Group Experiences in CS 115
    • 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 CS 116";
  • Better alternative: "Improving CS 116 Assignments";
  • Even better: "Designing CS 116 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.