CDS 101/110a/210, Fall 2008 - TA Information

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CDS 101/110a Schedule Recitations FAQ AM08 (errata)

This page contains information about TA activities for CDS 101/110a, Fall 2008.

TA Duties

Mud Cards (FAQ)

Mud cards are collected at the end of every lecture and are distributed among the TAs to be answered. The wiki says that the answers will be up by 8pm, so please plan to post the answers by 7pm so we can fix any problems that you may encounter. How to post: FAQ How-To.


Starting in the second week of the class, we'll have recitations on Fridays from 2-3 pm. Each TA will lead a recitation section (see the recitation schedule for information and assignments). Each recitation section should cover roughly the following things (not necessarily in this order):

  • Answer any questions the students have about the lecture or the homework
  • Discuss topics that you thought were not well covered in lecture or the text book, or that are special to your section (eg, the information systems session might get some information about discrete time systems, etc)
  • Go through one of the problems on the homework for the week. This should be done on the board and/or computer (depending on the type of problem). It doesn't need to be in full detail and it can go a bit fast, but provide enough information that the students see how the problem is worked from start to finish, and what is expected in their answers on the homework. We'll decide on the problem to cover in the TA meeting prior to the recitation.

Weekly Recitation Notes

  • Week 1 (10/3): Matlab/Simulink tutorial in 328 SFL. Julia and ? lead 2-4pm section, Luis and ? lead 4-6pm section. Julia and Luis will come up with the tutorial and handout. Use Prob 1.6 from homework as an example (do it yourself?) in the tutorial.

Office hours

We'll have two hours of office hours each week. The tentative times are

  • Sun 4-5 pm
  • Tue 3-4 pm?

We'll initially assign 1 TA to each office hour (the assigned TA for the week plus one other) but we can change that if the office hours get busy.



  • Recording lectures - record each lecture that Richard gives and place it online after the lecture. TA responsible for this doesn't have to answer mud cards.
  • Mailing list administration (Julia) - approve valid postings to the TA and class mailing lists. Manage subscriptions to the list and fix any problems. Admin pages for the lists: cds101-students, cds101-tas

Weekly meetings

Standing Agenda

Last week

This week

  • Recitation -
  • Homework grading assigments -
  • MUD card/frequently questions -
  • Office hours -

Next week

  • Plan for the week


This section contains information for the TAs on how to perform various tasks in the class.

Creating FAQ pages

To create a FAQ page, you need to do the following steps:

  1. Search the previous FAQ pages to see if this question has already been asked. If so, update the answer and skip to step 5
  2. Type in the question to be answered in the search box on the left side of the wiki.
  3. Click on the phrase "this exact title" when the search page comes up. This will create the FAQ page.
  4. Enter the answer to the question. You don't need to repeat the question (it is already included in the title for the page).
  5. At the end of the answer, use the text '--~~~~' to add your signature to the page. If you are modifying the answer on an existing page, add your signature below the existing signature. When you save the page, this information will get converted into your username and date (you can edit it again if you don't like the format).
  6. At the bottom of the page, add the category information (used to list the FAQs in the right places):
    [[Category: CDS 101/110 FAQ - Lecture w-m]]
    [[Category: CDS 101/110 FAQ - Lecture w-m, Fall 2008]]
    where 'w' is the current week and 'm' is the lecture number (1 = Monday, 2 = Wednesday, 3 = Friday). For homework sets, replace 'Lecture w-m' with 'Homework n'.
  7. Save the page
  8. Go back to the FAQ page and append the following text to the URL link in your browser window: ?action=purge (i.e. and press enter. This will purge the cached pages and you should see your mud card response appear on the FAQ page. If you don't do this, you won't be able to see your modification.

Notes on creating FAQ pages

  • The title doesn't have to be exactly what was written in the MUD card, but should be close enough that the student will recognize their question. You should reword the question to be simply stated and descriptive of the contents of the FAQ.
  • When you are writing up the answer for a FAQ, remember that this is the first course the students are taking in feedback and control. Avoid the use of advanced concepts that the students haven't seen yet and try to explain things in a way that gives insight to someone who may be struggling to understand the concept.
  • Including pictures to illustrate your answers is a great approach if appropriate. OK to grab pictures off of the web, but make sure to list where they came from (and include a link if you can).
  • You should also look in the course text to see if there is information there that might be relevant (students are asking questions in class, so may not have read the book yet). Include the relevant section number where more information can be found, but go ahead and provide additional explanation as well.

Using the CVS server

  • We won't be using the CVS server this year.