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A Comparison Of Ta’s Activities Between University Of Florida And Universidad Catolica Del Norte Chile

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

International Engineering Education I

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.30.1 - 11.30.5



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Paper Authors

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Patricio Tapia University of Florida

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Fazil Najafi University of Florida

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A comparison of Teacher Assistant activities between University of Florida and Universidad Catolica del Norte Chile


This paper is intended to compare Teacher Assistant activities in the civil engineering undergraduate programs in two different universities: University of Florida and Universidad Catolica del Norte. Furthermore, the objective is to show that more TAs are assigned to course instructors in Chile as compared to the United States.

The responsibilities of Teacher Assistants in these two universities are different. Teacher Assistants at the University of Florida are paid. They sign a contract per term that waves their college tuition, and $17,000 a year payment. In the Chilean system there is no compensation related to tuition and little financial support is considered.

At the University of Florida Teacher Assistants are always graduate students selected from the pool of qualified graduate students. In the Universidad Catolica del Norte undergraduate students can teach a particular class if they passed the same class successfully.

Even though appreciable difference can be found between these two systems, both respond to cultural factors that affect not only the education process but also the ways how Teacher Assistants perceive their responsibilities. Becoming a Teacher Assistant at University of Florida helps student’s financial needs and prepares those who want to pursue an academic career. For Chileans, being a Teacher Assistant is considered a high prestige.


Teacher Assistant (TA) activities play an important role in the education of civil engineers since students learn and have the opportunity to interact with their fellow students. TA’s activities include performing assigned class duties, office hours, assisting students in the laboratory, field trips, and grading. The emphasis in each activity is a function of the type of topic covered by the course. Theoretical subjects need more solving-problem classes, whereas lab and field trip consider more interaction with student groups. This paper is intended to show the differences in TA’s activities in two different universities both culturally and economically different. TA’s responsibilities in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida are compared to the Department of Civil Engineering at the Universidad Catolica del Norte, located in the north region of Chile. The comparison between the two departments includes the requirements, financial support, selection process, level of activities, and student evaluation.

Tapia, P., & Najafi, F. (2006, June), A Comparison Of Ta’s Activities Between University Of Florida And Universidad Catolica Del Norte Chile Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1458

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