Better Together: How Penn State IT's Student Technology Teaching Assistants Provide Groundbreaking Support to Faculty
Higher education experienced unprecedented shifts to workflows due to the emergence of COVID-19. Institutions were forced to adapt across all operational spaces, with the goal to provide continuation in teaching and learning. Charged with these challenges, Penn State’s Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) expanded its Tech Tutor program with the implementation of Technology Teaching Assistants (Tech TA), a service designed to pair student employees with faculty to support the transition from traditional face-to-face instruction to remote learning. This presentation will tell the story of how Penn State reinvented faculty support during the shift to remote teaching and learning. We will break down the design, development, and implementation of the Tech TA program, designed to provide technical assistance to faculty during online courses, allowing them to focus on instruction. Student employees serve as Zoom tech support to help faculty bridge the gap between teaching in a traditional classroom and teaching in an online or hybrid classroom. Specifically, we will discuss the program’s inception and iterations through evolving challenges. We will also share how the Tech TAs worked through these challenges, including narratives from both the student employee and instructor. Program-related process documents will also be available to attendees, as we will incorporate opportunities to discuss what these initiatives could look like in various contexts.