Freeing faculty to focus on students, not technology

During the pandemic, the Instructional Technology Aide (ITA) program has connected faculty with student aides to help create a seamless virtual course environment. ITAs, who take care of the technical logistics of a course, allow faculty to focus on engaging with their students and their course content. ITAs have provided great value and insights that faculty can take moving forward. To requests an ITA, please fill out this form.

What do ITAs do?

ITAs reported having most often performed the following technology services for faculty:

  1. Monitoring in-class Zoom sessions
  2. Troubleshooting technology issues
  3. Uploading to and organizing materials in Canvas

Each faculty member decided how they could best use ITAs’ help. ITAs were trained to help:

Maintain the virtual environment

  • Upload materials into Canvas in the “TA” or “designer” role
  • Troubleshoot connection and access issues with enrolled students
  • Monitor Zoom discussions, chats, and/or breakout rooms

Monitor course activities

  • Gather rapid class feedback
  • Distill discussion board responses
  • Attend office hours
  • Track attendance

Support communication about expectations

  • Provide feedback to faculty on clarity of assignment directions
  • Field logistical questions from students around multi-step assignments
  • Help facilitate interactive and project-based group work activities and assignments

What’s the difference between a TA and an ITA?

TAs have content knowledge and assist with teaching. ITAs may or may not have content knowledge. Their role is to help the course run smoothly, with a focus on tech support.

What observations have ITAs made about learning during the pandemic?

We interviewed ITAs about their own experience—and what they observed in their role about learning remotely. They shared fascinating insights, which we’ve put together as an episode of our What We’re Learning About Learning podcast series:

Listen to podcast episode on anchor.fm

What have faculty and students in class had to say about their ITAs?

[My ITA] has saved my life by allowing me to focus on both content and planning. She is available for all classes and I often make her the host so she can deal with technical issues while I concentrate on discussions. She will also contact students with updates on asynchronous work, syllabus changes and more. She keeps track of attendance and let’s me know if some students are infrequently missing discussions. -Faculty Member with an ITA
I am SOOO grateful for the Technical Assistant program. Mine is amazing – she is responsive, engaging, and resourceful. -Faculty Member with an ITA
I liked how the technical assistants were able to help the professors run the class more smoothly. -Student in a class with an ITA

Interested in learning more about the ITA program?

Please contact Tammi Damas in the Provost’s Office for more information.

Contact Tammi Damas