Less than two weeks after Penn State transitioned to remote teaching, the Tech TAs program debuted to provide faculty real-time, on-demand Zoom support so they could focus on delivering lessons and not video-conferencing technology. Thanks to a positive reception and the continuation of remote teaching, Tech TAs will be available during summer courses.
In an anonymous survey of faculty who utilized Tech TAs during the spring semester, 100% of respondents indicated that they would recommend the service to a colleague and that Tech TAs added value to their courses. Additionally, over 90% of respondents mentioned they would use Tech TAs again, and that they helped to meet their students’ needs.
One survey respondent replied to an open-ended question that this brand-new service brought them peace of mind during adverse circumstances. “Tech TAs gave me confidence that everything during my Zoom lessons would run as smoothly as possible,” they said.
Penn State students serve as Tech TAs and are the Zoom technology experts during the synchronous portion of a class. Examples of their work in Zoom during the spring semester included; setting up breakout rooms, tracking students’ attendance, administering polls, monitoring the chat feature, synchronous tech support, and recording sessions.
Additionally, the Tech TAs can help configure Zoom so that students cannot enter a “room” unless the host is present. This will prevent faculty from receiving emails anytime someone enters their Zoom room, and it will help eliminate excessively long recordings.
Faculty can request the help of a Tech TA by completing this Tech TA faculty request form. Upon submission, an email will be sent that introduces the instructor and the Tech TA. After the intro email, the TA will follow up directly to assess specific needs and determine the next steps.