Many lectures will have support classes associated with them. Especially core second year modules, and most third year modules. Support classes vary in appearance depending on the material, and in what way they support the lectures. Some will spend most of the time going over the assignments sheets (assessed or otherwise), and if these sheets are assessed it is usually the TA (Teaching Assistant) of the support class that marks them. Other classes will go over particularly tricky parts of the module, or additional examples that give a better insight.
Don't go to a support class expecting the TA to know what you have been struggling with, they will welcome feedback from you on what you would like help with and would probably be happy to receive an email to give them sufficient time to prepare. Also, make sure you are prepared: that you have attended the lectures beforehand, and have attempted the assignment sheets that are going to be covered. There is nothing worse, for a TA than 30 students sitting in silence in a room expecting to be spoon-fed answers to all the exercises that they haven't attempted yet.
What you can expect from the TA of your support class:
- They should turn up to the classes promptly and be well prepared.
- Due to the nature of employing TAs from postgraduate students the style and standard of the teaching may vary, but you should as a minimum expect the TA to be competent and prepared to answer relevant questions In particular, most of the TAs will not be experts on the course they are covering so cannot be expected to answer questions outside of the material covered in lectures (although of course many will still do so).
- The TA will mark any assessed work and return marks to the lecturer promptly. The University expects all work to be returned within 20 working days of the submission deadline, but for support classes you should typically get it returned within at least 2 weeks.
- If you have minor concerns about your support class (can't hear the TA, can't read writing, don't feel they're going over the things you need help with) then talk to the TA! Often this could be the first time they have taught a support class and would welcome any feedback that would improve their performance.
- If you have any serious concerns about your support class you should address complaints to the Director of Undergraduate Studies immediately.
- You are encouraged to email your TA with suggestions for topics you are particularly having problems with, but it is not the TAs job to email individual solutions to students. That is what the support classes are for.
- If the TA will unavoidably miss a support class they or the lecturer will notify you beforehand and if possible arrange a replacement class.