Winter Quarter 2018 — Information and Computer SciencesUC Irvine


Lab Tutor Seminar (ICS 193)


Instructors: David G. Kay (, 5056 Donald Bren Hall; Rich Pattis (, 4062 Donald Bren Hall

Tutor coordinators: Sui Feng Xu (, and Kenny Nguyen ( Jointly we're reachable at

Meeting time and place: Tuesdays 2:00 to 3:20 in 5011 DBH. We expect to skip a few meetings later in the quarter; stay tuned to Email and Piazza for the final determination.

Course requirements: It's simple: Everyone can get an A who performs professionally. Unprofessional things (like missing scheduled lab sessions or missing the ICS 193 meetings or not preparing and editing some teaching materials [see below]) will lower the grade and pretty quickly result in a tutor not being asked to be a tutor any more. Of course real emergencies come up (but normal academic obligations like midterms and projects aren't real emergencies; you can plan around them); in a real emergency, contact the coordinators and the TA of your section as soon as you possibly can. 

To reiterate: Every tutor is expected to show up to each assigned lab session, to attend each scheduled meeting of ICS 193 [or make alternative arrangement with the coordinators in case of a class conflict], and to prepare and submit and edit some teaching materials as described below.

Topics to be covered in ICS 193 meetings: Primarily we will discuss issues that have come up or may come up in your tutoring. We will talk some about computer science curricula and teaching in general, and we will also cover relevant aspects of Python and other computer science principles. Refer frequently to the Lab Tutor Guide,

Resources for tutors: This syllabus (with all its hyperlinks) is available on line at There are other useful resources on David Kay's Teaching in ICS page.

We're making heavy use of forums at this quarter (for tutors, as well as for the students). This is a site where questions can be posted and answers can be created collaboratively, wiki-style, both by other students in the class and by instructors.

Resources by tutors: As you know, ICS 193 must exist to give tutors units for tutoring; moreover, ICS 193 has to be enough like an academic course so that when the program is eventually reviewed, nobody will object that we're giving units away for nonacademic purposes. At the same time, we'd like ICS 193 to be valuable and stimulating for you as tutors and helpful in making you more effective tutors, thereby improving the students' experience. 

Rather than having just a weekly seminar meeting, we'll cancel the meeting some weeks and instead ask each tutor to design some teaching materials (that will help students with skills and concepts you've observed they need help with). This is all experimental, so any of the "rules" below can be altered if there's a good reason. 

Basic requirement: During the quarter, each tutor will produce one set of "teaching materials" and will review and edit at least two sets of materials written by other tutors (so that each item is reviewed at least twice). First-time tutors may skip the production part and just edit two or three sets of other materials. 

Quality control: We do two reviews of each item because eventually we will post them in the "Resources" section of the site. That means they have to be clear and grammatical, using correct CS terminology, with fully tested code, following good programming style—in short, as close to perfect as possible. Eventually we'll have a rich resource we can direct students to. Another upside is that you get the glory of seeing your name as the author of the published items. 

Teaching materials can be exercises, programming problems, focused explanations of specific topics, illustrations, animations, summary tables, videos, games, or anything else that might help a student learn a topic in the course you're tutoring for. We're thinking mostly of text-based programming exercises, but if you think a more unconventional form will help you get your point across, go right ahead. 

Stay tuned for logistical and administrative details. 

David G. Kay, 

Monday, March 30, 2015 5:04 PM