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Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA) Handbook


Needless to say, the art of being a CSE teaching assistant cannot be encapsulated in a handbook. The goal of this page is, then, to provide technical tips and tricks for troubleshooting in the lab, and to specify some of the other non-technical aspects.

Contact Consult!

Emailing Dr. Alphonce (or a different professor you TA for) is often the thing to do, but in some cases, he can't do anything for you.

Consult is the one to email for matters pertaining to the room equipment, such as the overhead and card swipe. He is also the one to ask about student CSE password problems and repository membership. If needed, CC Dr. Alphonce on these emails.

Consult can be reached at cse-consult@buffalo.edu.


  1. Eclipse won't open and gives a "workspace in use" error.
    • This happens when the student leaves his workspace open in Oracle or on a different computer. Creating a new workspace is one option, but the student will not be able to access anything in his main workspace.
    • Another option is to kill all Eclipse processes running with the student's username.
      • Use 'ps aux | grep ' to find the student's processes and process identifiers (pids).
      • Use 'kill -9 ' to kill off any such processes, where is the process id of an Eclipse process, which will show up as a Java process.
      • Once Eclipse processes are killed off, check ~/workspace/.metadata/ for a .lock file.
      • Use 'ls -la' to get a long listing including all files (even "hidden" files, files whose filenames begin with '.').
  2. Eclipse is out of memory.
    • Kill all running programs in Eclipse or just restart Eclipse altogether.
    • Check for infinite loops or anything else that would prevent a program from stopping when expected.
  3. The student is confused about the configuration of his perspective or can't find something in the perspective.
    • Simply reset the perspective. Window -> Reset Perspective...
  4. Interacting with CVS Repositories
    • To connect to a repository:
      1. Change perspective to CVS Repository Exploring.
      2. Click the "Add Repository" button or find it in the right-click menu.
      3. Enter the requested information. For most cases:
        • Host: timberlake.cse.buffalo.edu
        • Repository Path: specified by instructor. Probably in the form /projects/CSEXXX/Repositories/SemesterYYYY/Code
        • User: UBIT username
        • Password: CSE password
        • Connection Type: extssh
        • Leave default for everything else
    • To synchronize with a repository:


  1. Web-CAT won't display a student's score when he tries to submit. (Note: this problem does not display an error message.)
    • Web-CAT does not accept passwords containing a '$'. If the student's UBIT password contains a '$', he must change it here.
  2. For any other problems or errors, notify Dr. Alphonce. Include the exact error message in the email.

Write-Ups (for CSE116)

  1. Student closes Eclipse write-up window or terminal before he means to.
    • Preferred solution:
    • Alternative solution: Simply run the write-up script again. When asked what you would like to overwrite, enter 'N' for none. BEWARE that this only works if the script does not overwrite any older workspaces.


Finch experiences go here.

Miscellaneous Technical

  1. A computer is locked because someone left without logging out.
    • Ctrl-Alt-Bkspace, Bkspace. Unfortunately, this only works for the GNOME lock screen, not the SunRay lock screen.
  2. Student is confused about the assignment.
    • Go to the instructions. He probably did not read them thoroughly.
  3. Anthing else you don't know the answer to:
    • Be resourceful. Try some things. If you can't get it, apologize and ask Google.


  1. You would like to get paid.
    • Fill out your timesheet and hand it in! Make sure it is on time if you would like to get paid in a timely manner.
    • The following items belong on your timesheet:
      • Recitations
      • Office Hours
      • Weekly UTA Meeting
      • Exam Invigilation
      • Lectures you cover for the professor
      • Times you meet with students outside of regularly scheduled time for CSE help
      • For other times you're uncertain about, ask your supervising professor.
    • You can get paid either by a physical check or by direct deposit. The physical check will show up every other week in your mailbox in Davis 338 (Staff Entrance). For direct deposit, you must fill out the appropriate paperwork. You will receive receipts in your mailbox.
    • For any paperwork or questions, see Jen Wojcik in Davis 338O.
  2. Attendance sheets (CSE116)
    • Allow the students to sign in during the first 10 minutes of lab. Make sure everyone has signed in and then mark which students are not there.
    • Have the students sign out as they leave lab. If a student forgets to sign out and you are sure he was there the whole time, you may make a note or simply sign your own name.
    • Be sure to bring your timesheets to Dr. Alphonce at the weekly UTA meetings. Hand-written sheets are acceptable if you forgot to print the official ones.
  3. Interacting with the students


  1. Carl Alphonce, UTA Coordinator.
  2. Jen Wojcik, Budget Manager.


Vmware Academic Program


The VMware Academic Program (VMAP) is a comprehensive program designed specifically for the academic community. The program enables qualifying academic users at VMAP member organizations worldwide to gain easy access to cutting-edge virtualization technology and resources at no charge.


Faculty can use VMware software under specific program usage guidelines, free of charge, in a wide variety of areas of academic research and classroom instruction.

Students can use this software free of charge for one year with yearly renewals as part of qualified coursework or research projects. Students must be enrolled in an eligible class to gain access.

Acceptable use cases include:

  • The free single use licenses provided through The VMware Academic Program may be used for instruction and non-commercial research only. Please refer to the definitions of instructional and research use below
  • Lab licenses may only be installed in lab environments where the lab is primarily used for instructional and research purposes.
  • Program software installed in shared lab environments can be used across different courses offered by different faculty members.
  • Faculty members as well as staff directly involved in administering systems and providing support for program software may install the software on their personal computers
  • Students taking qualified courses or conducting research can access program software within lab machines or download programs software on their personal computers. Students receiving licenses through a qualifying course or research project may use the licenses after the course or project is concluded.
  • Multiple academic groups in an institution may join the Program if each group meets the eligibility requirements.
  • The designated Program Administrator (PA) must be an employee of the department or group and is responsible for administering, managing, and enforcing the guidelines set by the EULA for the VMware Academic and Research Program (“Academic EULA”)
  • Every copy of the software must be a true and complete copy and it must include all copyright and trademark notices. All software made available must include all of the files.

Unacceptable use cases include:

  • Students who are in an approved department but are not taking courses that lead to credit or a certificate or who are not involved in relevant research projects are not eligible to use the software.
  • Students, faculty members, or other parties that received a license under the program but no longer attend or are employed by the institution.
  • Staff members who are not directly involved with system administration related to the program, such as administrative assistants, may not install the software on their personal computers.
  • Software that is part of the program may not be shared with non-approved departments. However, it may be installed on shared labs if the approved department's students regularly use that lab.
  • The designated Program Administrator for the member approved may not be a teaching assistant or a student. However, teaching assistants or students may help the Program Administrator with the program.
  • The software provided by VMAP may not be sold, rented, leased, or transferred to any third party including contractors, consultants, other companies, and other department personnel.
  • Software cannot be used for infrastructure purposes. Licenses acquired through the VMware Academic Program are for instructional, research and personal use only.
  • The software provided by VMAP may not be used for any purpose outside of instructional, research and personal use. vSphere licenses provided under this program may not be used for desktop virtualization.

Use of free VMware software for instruction and research is governed by the specific program guidelines and the conditions described within the Academic EULA and the use of software for infrastructure purposes is governed by the VMware EULA for each of the products.

Definitions of Instructional, Research and Infrastructure Use

  • Instructional use is defined as conducting educational classes, labs, or related programs for teaching or learning concepts related to the products that are part of this program.
  • Research use is defined as conducting not-for-profit research projects.
  • Infrastructure use is defined as use of software as a part of the institution's or department's infrastructure that's not intended for specific classroom instruction or research project


Once the serial key to a program has been registered, additional keys cannot be generated. Faculty can get yearly renewals on software packages. Students can only download the software once for 400 days. See http://www.vmware.com/partners/academic/faqs.html for more details.

Accessing Software

Unlike CSE's MSDNAA licensing, VMAP accounts are not generated automatically. Faculty wishing to use VMWare software for their class should contact cse-consult.

Students who are enrolled in a class requiring Vmware products will have their accounts created automatically when an instructor requests access. Students will then receive an email message with account information.

Researchers who wish to use Vmware products should have their adviser or faculty member make the request on the researcher's behalf.

Once an account is setup for you, your login name will be your UB email address, for example: ubitname.buffalo.edu.

You will receive an email message stating an account has been created for you. Follow the link to finish setting up your account (including password). Once you have setup your account you should be able to access and download VMware titles at http://e5.onthehub.com/WebStore/Welcome.aspx?vsro=8&ws=bcc13a83-ebc9-e01...

Download and Installation

Titles can be browsed at: http://e5.onthehub.com/WebStore/Welcome.aspx?vsro=8&ws=bcc13a83-ebc9-e01.... Once you have found the title you want to download/install, click the link.

  1. Click "Add to Cart". don't worry, you will not be charged!
  2. Enter your login credentials, your UB email address and the password you would have set when setting up your account
  3. Click "Check Out".
  4. Accept (or decline) the end-user license agreement
  5. Click "Proceed with Order"
  6. Save this page, print it out, or make a copy of the serial number provided. If during the excitement of the download experience you close this page, you should be able to access it again through a confirmation message sent to your UB address.
  7. On this same page click the "Start Download" Button. Depending on the software you will then begin the download or have to select a version of your OS and or specific files you want.
  8. Once the download is complete you can then launch the installer (and follow the prompts) or burn the disk ISO, etc... Different software packages will be delivered in a variety of ways.


  1. Help - http://e5.onthehub.com/d.ashx?s=crc38aqxt3
  2. Acceptable use guidelines - http://www.vmware.com/partners/academic/program-overview.html