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Department of Physics

Postgraduate student teachers

Postgraduate students are invited to provide demonstrator assistance in the undergraduate laboratories, in tutorials, examples classes and workshops, and with the marking of the undergraduates' set weekly problems. Demonstrators are paid at an hourly rate, set by the University, for their work (£11.40 per hour, subject to changes), which typically occupies six hours per week, on average, during the Michaelmas and Epiphany Terms. Dependent upon the particular class involved, postgraduate student demonstrators are usually required to work for a total of about 18 weeks during the year but some appointments for part of the year may be made. A summary of the work in connection with each of the duties available is given further down this page.

Postgraduate students who have undertaken teaching activities in the past identified some of the benefits as:

  • it allowed them to gain academic training whilst still studying;
  • the undergraduate students often appreciated guidance from postgraduates, who were relatively close to where they were in their academic careers.

They believed that the arrangement of postgraduate students being involved with undergraduate teaching was therefore beneficial to both sides.

Compulsory training sessions

All demonstrators and markers are required to attend compulsory departmental training sessions on Friday 6 October 2017. First-time demonstrators and markers are also required to attend training sessions provided by the University, and you will not be permitted by the University to receive payment for your work unless you attend these sessions. These University-run training sessions are on demonstrating, small group teaching and assessment in the sciences (Various dates between 5th and 13th October). All laboratory demonstrators are required to attend the sessions on demonstrating and assessment; all markers, tutors and workshop and examples class demonstrators are required to attend the sessions on small group teaching and assessment. Your places on the training sessions will be booked for you by the Department and you will receive joining instructions by email from the University's Academic Office. The University also requires all new demonstrators and markers to complete an online training session on the legal and support framework for students at Durham.

Eligibility to work in the UK

As you may be aware, the Government is imposing strict regulations on the ability to employ workers. The Home Office enforces the regulations and requires employers to undertake checks on all new employees to ensure they are eligible to work in the UK. In order to comply with immigration legislation the University has checking procedures to ensure all employees/workers provide proof of eligibility to work in the UK and qualifications before they undertake any work, paid or unpaid. As part of this legislation we have to provide proof of eligibility for all of our students who are due to take on any teaching duties in the future, whether international or UK nationals, except those who provided this proof in previous years. If you wish to undertake any teaching duties in the next academic year you will need to provide original documents to prove your eligibility to work in the UK. To find out which documents we can accept as proof of eligibility, see https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/overseas/documents/. Once the documents have been checked they will be copied and sent to HR for their records. As well as new students joining the Department, those continuing students, who did not teach in 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 or 2016/17 and therefore were not checked for their eligibility to work should bring their documents to the Physics main reception, marked for the attention of the Postgraduate Administrators, Joanne Richardson and Emma Worden in room 11 so that the relevant checks and copies can be made. New students please bring your documents to Durham and bring them to the Physics main reception (room 11) as soon as possible after your arrival. If you have any problems or queries about these arrangements please let Joanne or Emma know as soon as possible. For Tier 4 students, funded students and students who are on a contract of some sort it is the responsibility of the individual student to ensure that they are not exceeding the total number of hours permitted to work according to the terms of their Visa, award or contract. Funded students should check their award letters or grant contracts for relevant information about eligibility to work while studying. More information for Tier 4 students can be found at the following page: https://www.dur.ac.uk/immigration/workinginuk/workduringstudy/.

Payment

All postgraduate students (who were not involved in teaching activities in previous years) wishing to undertake any teaching duties in the next academic year must complete the Casual New Starters Form (see attachment below). Please print and complete the form (from page 2 of the Casual New Starter Form), and return the signed document to Joanne or Emma in room 11 by 4 September 2017. New students please bring it to Joanne or Emma as soon as possible after your arrival.If you have not already done so, please also bring your proof of eligibility to work documents (see above), which will be attached to the Casual New Starters form (below) and processed by the University's HR office before you can be paid. You will also be asked to read and sign a Contract For Service once the allocation of duties has taken place. Please note that we expect all contracts to be signed and returned to Joanne and Emma promptly by Friday 3 November 2017, otherwise the Department may withhold your payments.

Application form

Please complete and submit the form below before 1 September 2017, indicating whether you wish to be considered for an appointment and your order of preference for the type of work. Every effort will be made to meet your preferences so far as these are consistent with departmental requirements, but it may not be possible to meet everyone's wishes and there may be insufficient vacancies to allow all who wish to help to be appointed. In an attempt to preserve experience and expertise, students who took part in teaching and demonstrating in 2016/17 will be assigned to the same activity in 2017/18 where possible. Please provide at least three preferences in your choice of work. Please note that if you provide fewer than three choices you may not receive any of your preferences.

Resources

Your details

Please use your Durham address if you have one

Teaching duties




For students on research council studentships the maximum is 6 hours, so this is the default maximum

E.g. if you have selected Level 3 laboratory demonstrating, please indicate whether you have a preference for any of the four laboratory sections. If you are available in one term only then please indicate this here. Also if you know of any planned periods of absence due to attending conferences, workshops or other commitments during which you will be unable to carry out teaching duties pleae include these here.

Summary of the work in connection with each of the duties available

Please note that this is not intended to be a job description and in particular it does not provide all the details of what is involved - more information will be provided at the departmental training sessions. Whilst the workload for some duties (such as laboratory demonstrating) is naturally fairly constant from week to week, for other duties you should expect a certain amount of variation, due to timetabling and similar reasons; the number of hours per week given as the expected commitment, below, should therefore be regarded as an average figure. Please note that training credit is not included in the figures below and will be accounted for seperately. Information about the physics content of the modules is available by following the links.

Level 1

  • Weekly problems administration

    Sorting and distributing the scripts to the markers each week, maintaining marking records, administering the marking database, dealing with queries. Similar duties relating to the January Collection examination. Expected commitment (approximate): 4 hrs/wk for 20 weeks.

  • PHYS1122 Foundations of Physics 1 - tutorials and weekly problems marking

Preparing and delivering one one-hour tutorial per week for each group of approximately six students, based on tutorial problems and model solutions supplied by staff. Marking the weekly problems for the same students, including providing written and verbal feedback comments, using lecturer-supplied model solutions. Marking the Collection examination scripts (January), using lecturer-supplied solutions (note: this will take longer than a normal week's marking). Providing general advice and support to tutees regarding the module content. Due to the nature of the role, this activity is not available to first-year postgraduates who are new to Durham. If you wish to undertake this activity then you may be asked to have a short informal interview with the Level 1 Course Director during September. Expected commitment (approximate): 6 hrs/wk for 20 weeks for two groups.

Marking of the undergraduates' submitted solutions, including providing written feedback comments, using lecturer-supplied model solutions. Expected commitment (approximate): up to 6 hrs/wk for 18 weeks.

Marking of the undergraduates' submitted solutions, including providing written feedback comments, using lecturer-supplied model solutions. Expected commitment (approximate): up to 6 hrs/wk for 6 weeks.

This activity runs approximately from the middle of the first term to the middle of the second term. Assisting in the delivery of the Introduction to Programming (Python) workshops, preparation and follow-up activities. Being present throughout four one-hour sessions per week, to guide students. Expected commitment (approximate): 5 hrs/wk for 9 weeks.

Attending and chairing one-hour sessions in the Epiphany Term during which students taking the module give short talks on a physics topic. Giving feedback to each student on his/her talk and advising on how to improve their presentation skills. Expected committment (approximate): 2hrs/week for 8 weeks.

This activity runs in the second term. Being present throughout one one-hour session per week, to supervise students as they work together in groups on solving problems set by the lecturer, marking group work, giving verbal feedback where appropriate. Expected commitment (approximate): 2.5 hr/wk for 8 weeks.

The activity runs both in the Michaelmas and the Epiphany terms. Being present throughout one one-hour session per week to supervise students as they work on mathematics problems set by the lecturer, giving verbal feedback where appropriate, invigilating one one-hour test. The level of the material will be intermediate between A-Level and first year undergraduate level. Expected committement (approximate): 2hr/week for 17 weeks

Level 2

  • PHYS2581 Foundations of Physics 2A – workshops

    In rotation with the other demonstrators for this module, preparing for and demonstrating in two one-hour workshops per week, to guide students, based on problems and model solutions supplied by the lecturers. Providing verbal feedback comments. Assist with the marking of the mid-term progress tests. Expected commitment (approximate): 4 hrs/wk for 19 weeks.

  • PHYS2631 Theoretical Physics 2 – workshops

    As for PHYS2581 Foundations of Physics 2A.

  • PHYS2641 Laboratory Skills and Electronics – laboratory demonstrating

    Assisting in the delivery of the Skills, Electronics and Research-Led Investigations laboratory classes. Being present throughout each three-hour session, to guide students, to ensure appropriate student conduct and to encourage safe working practices. Invigilation of Electronics practical examination. Attending activity-specific training and familiarization. Expected commitment (approximate) based on two three-hour sessions per week: 6 hrs/wk for 18 weeks. It may be possible to demonstrate just one three-hour session per week, in special cases, but two is the norm.

  • PHYS2641 Laboratory Skills and Electronics – computing demonstrating

    This activity runs in the first term only. Assisting in the delivery of the Computational Physics workshops, preparation and follow-up activities. Being present throughout four one-hour sessions per week, to guide students. The programming language used is Python. Expected commitment (approximate): 5 hrs/wk for 8 weeks.

Level 3

  • PHYS3621 Foundations of Physics 3A – workshops

    In rotation with the other demonstrators for this module, preparing for and demonstrating in two one-hour workshops per week, to guide students, based on problems and model solutions supplied by the lecturers. Providing verbal feedback comments. Assist with the marking of the progress test (December). Expected commitment (approximate): 4 hrs/wk for 17 weeks.

  • PHYS3641 Advanced Physics 3 – workshops

    Preparing for and demonstrating in two one-hour workshops per week, to guide students, based on problems and model solutions supplied by the lecturers. Providing verbal feedback comments. Assisting with the marking of the progress test (December). Expected commitment (approximate): 4 hrs/wk for 17 weeks.

Please note that the request for suitably experienced markers of the General Problems Collection examination scripts (December), using lecturer-supplied solutions, will be sent at a later date. This marking would add one extra weeks pay to the existing levels indicated above. To be confirmed.

  • PHYS3591 Mathematics Workshop – workshops

    Preparing for and demonstrating in two one-hour workshops per week, to guide students, based on problems and model solutions supplied by the lecturers. Invigilating the two open-book examinations in January and April. Expected commitment (approximate): 4 hrs/wk for 19 weeks (or 9 weeks if for one term only).

  • PHYS3601 Laboratory Project – laboratory demonstrating

    Assisting in the delivery of the experimental laboratory classes in one of the four laboratory sections: Astronomy, Condensed Matter Physics, Nuclear Physics, Optics/Atomic Physics. Being present throughout two three-hour sessions per week, to guide students, to ensure appropriate student conduct, to encourage safe working practices and to assist the laboratory leader in other ways, as required, such as developing enhanced experiments. Attending activity-specific training and familiarization. Expected commitment (approximate) based on two three-hour sessions per week: 6 hrs/wk for 16 weeks (or 8 weeks if for one term only).

  • PHYS3561 Physics Problem Solving – computing demonstrating

    Assisting in the delivery of the computing laboratory (Python) classes. Being present throughout two three-hour drop-in sessions per week, to guide students. Attending activity-specific training and familiarization. Expected commitment (approximate) based on two three-hour sessions per week: 6 hrs/wk for 14 weeks.

Level 4

  • There are no duties for this year.