Graduate Teaching Assistant


I was a teaching assistant for an undergraduate-level course, Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Engineers (CME 106) during summer quarter 2012 at Stanford. There were approximately 30 students enrolled in the course, including Stanford undergraduates, visiting summer students, and graduate students. This introductory course covers topics such as random variables, discrete and continuous distributions, conditional probability, regression, and hypothesis testing, all with applications geared toward engineering students.

Importance of Work

A service course for undergraduate students, this course is intended to help science and engineering students build up their mathematical foundation. The course covers not only the theory of probability and statistics, but also applications and computational examples. The course also gives students and introduction to using MATLAB software for statistical computing and problem-solving.

Tasks Completed

  • I held office hours/homework help sessions and MATLAB programming tutorials
  • For the MATLAB programming tutorials, I developed additional materials based on student requests, including additional MATLAB practice exercises and exercise solutions. Practice exercises and solutions are included at the bottom of the page for reference.
  • I prepared a two-hour final exam review session, including both a review of course material and practice problems
  • I graded two homework assignments and the midterm and final exams, and proctored the midterm exam

Skills Gained and Lessons Learned

Acting as a Teaching Assistant required me to do a broader range of tasks than I had previously done as a course tutor. This was my first experience grading assignments and exams, which gave me an opportunity to provide students with individualized feedback about their work and understanding of the course material. It also provided me with an opportunity to prepare a lecture for the final review session which helped me to improve my oral communication skills. I also had the opportunity to write some of my own sample exercises for a group of students who requested additional practice after my MATLAB programming tutorial. Creating sample problems that are challenging and instructive is an art, and skill I look forward to developing further.

Impact of Work

At the end of the quarter, a few of the students, including those for whom I created additional programming exercised thanked me for all the help I provided for them in the course. I was glad that the time I put into helping the students was appreciated and that they felt it improved their learning experience in the course.