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Teaching+Technology Support Partners

TTSP Full Statements of Former Partners

 

“I was selected to be TTSP fellow in the department of Applied Mathematic (APMA) in 2011. The first main responsibility for this position was to support APMA faculty in integrating technology to the courses. Webwork was an example of technology that the APMA department used to enhance the learning of students. It is open source software and provides a powerful platform for online homework and tests. With this responsibility, it helped me to get an idea on different technologies that could make the learning more convenient and effective. Moreover, I had an opportunity to work with several faculty closely, where I could observe and learn different teaching styles from them. The second main task that all TTSP fellows had to do was to attend weekly meeting with all TTSP fellows from different departments and the TTSP program faculty. This activity gave me an opportunity to learn from other fellows who might have different perspectives in both technology and teaching. By attending these meetings, I was trained and integrated new technology and techniques into the teaching. Moreover, it opened up my view in many different ways about technology and education. I also received news about training and workshops that could improve my teaching skill. These meetings provided all fellows very useful discussions on current teaching issues that anyone might have, and in most cases, these discussions helped solve our issues very well.”

Flight Lieutenant Parinya Anantachaisilp, Lecturer, Department of Electrical Engineering, Royal Thai Air Force Academy

“From 2010 to 2013, I was the Teaching + Technology Support Partner for the Department of Religious Studies. As a TTSP, I substantially deepened my understanding of the potential for using digital technology within the classroom, and developed a strong working knowledge of a wide variety of tools. In the process, I also had some of the best discussions about effective pedagogy, with or without a digital component, that I ever had as a graduate student. My interest in and competency with digital pedagogy developed as TTSP led me to the Praxis Fellowship in the Scholars’ Lab at U.Va., where I helped build a digital tool, Ivanhoe, that facilitates creative role-playing to critically engage texts and other media. I strongly credit my experience as a TTSP with my success as a Praxis Fellow, which led me finally to becoming a Digital Humanities Developer, creating digital tools for pedagogy and research and working with faculty and graduate students on various projects.”

Scott Bailey, Digital Humanities Developer, Scholars’ Lab, University of Virginia

“I really didn’t actually know what I was getting into when I joined TTSP.  I knew that I’d be learning about new technology related to teaching and research at UVA.  But, beyond that, I wasn’t sure how meaningful it would be to me personally.  I was able to interact with faculty in new ways as I helped them navigate new ideas for their courses and research.  But if I’m being fully honest, I benefited more than they did from my involvement with the program.  I gained a new sense of confidence in trying new things in my classes.  I learned how to keep up to date with technological changes in higher education and what kinds of classroom and research tech I like and don’t.

One concrete way I benefited was learning about blogging.  It was something few faculty were considering for teaching and professional use when I was in graduate school, but it has become more mainstream since then.  During my year with TTSP, I decided to start my own blog as an experiment so that I’d be able to advise faculty – but also because I was interested in learning more.  Later, I connected with a group of scholarly bloggers in my field.  Some of that work has been published and led to invitations as a contributing blogger at Huffington Post, Slate.com, Pacific Standard, and more.  And I am currently starting a project as a third author on a new edition of a dominant textbook in my field.  The book is changing to a digital format, and I was invited to collaborate not only because of professional connections, but to help consider new digital possibilities for data visualizations, video integration, and more–all things I first started learning about during my year with TTSP.

Now, as an Assistant Professor at my new college, I’m closely connected with our Center for Learning and Teaching, and have given talks on classroom technology use.  It gave me a way to connect with other faculty and to begin college service when I got here.  I’ve met many new colleagues from different fields as a result. I really loved the program.”

Tristan Bridges, Assistant Professor, Sociology, The College at Brockport, State University of New York

“My experience as a TTSP not only helped me to land my first tenure-track teaching position, but also helped me to be a more mature, innovative and confident teacher once I was on the job. While many of my colleagues who obtained their Ph.D.’s from large state schools had had little to no opportunity to teach during graduate school, as a U.Va. grad I had not only taught for six years but I also had the chance to thoughtfully reflect on my teaching as it related to the use of technology. In my work as a TTSP I was able to learn from some of the finest professors about the creative ways technology could be used in the classroom. Without fear I stepped up to the plate and have for the last 12 years taught all of my courses using electronic classroom tools such as Blackboard and Moodle (I haven’t accepted a hard copy of an assignment for the last 12 years!). Additionally, when my department sought someone to teach a hybrid course for non-traditional students, I was the only one who felt comfortable venturing into that realm. It turned out to be an incredibly rewarding teaching experience. I will always be grateful for the experience I gained as a TTSP. As more and more schools consider the use of MOOCS and/or hybrid courses, any skills and capacities graduate school candidates can demonstrate at the intersection of teaching and technology are invaluable assets.”

Jacqueline Bussie, Associate Professor of Religion & Director, Forum on Faith and Life, Concordia College, MN

“The TTSP program gave me the opportunity to explore computational resources for my field, relating in particular to language documentation and description. Through the program, I was able to learn about what resources were available, to develop my skills in them, and to experiment with them using some of my own data. Conveying my findings to professors and others in my department was exciting, and the tools themselves helped me in advancing my own research. I am very grateful to the TTSP program for giving me this opportunity.”

Patience Epps,  Associate Professor, Linguistics, University of Texas at Austin

“The TTSP program was a great learning experience for me during my graduate career. It opened my eyes to several teaching technologies that I have since returned to use as I teach my own courses. At the time, helping faculty with these tools also opened dialog with several of my colleagues in a way that fostered congeniality and even collaboration. In addition, some of the educational theories that I learned about during my TTSP training and meetings were very novel to me, especially coming from Engineering. These have served me well since, as I have applied them in classrooms. It was also very empowering to learn about new technologies and how to best apply them in the classroom: I used my knowledge to guide my own research work at times, and even to suggest technological solutions to my graduate student peers. Without a doubt, the TTSP program broadened my horizons in graduate school: I met students from departments across the University whom I would have otherwise never met; it opened the doors of faculty in my own department I might not have otherwise interacted with; and I expanded my own knowledge, on ideologies about education and the tools available to effectively teach and communicate via technology. I highly recommend this program to anybody considering it!”

Amanda French, Director of Digital Research Services, Virginia Tech Libraries

“For all its benefits as a service to faculty and departments, the TTSP position provides excellent pedagogical training for the grad students involved. For me, it spurred my own awareness of and experiments with technology in my own classrooms, and made me a much more innovative teacher because of it. With roots in those experiences, I’ve continued in my own career to pursue conversations about digital pedagogy through classroom experiments, conferences, and articles. Also, the TTSP can help professionalize you not only for academic jobs, but for a broad range of careers in university settings and beyond.”

Paul Fyfe,  Assistant Professor, English, North Carolina State University

“I can’t say enough good things about my experience as a former Partner.  First, the program provided me the opportunity to work with faculty at UVA on integrating various learning technologies into their courses. Second, the TTSP program allowed me to have hands-on experience on course design and development. Third, the program gave me the opportunity to sharpen my technical and training skills.

I can honestly say that my TTSP experience was instrumental in helping me make the transition to a career in faculty development and adult education. I have on numerous occasions used parts of The TTSP model in my post UVA professional career.  The TTSP is an excellent training outreach program — a true win-win for students and faculty.”

Noah Dylan Goldblatt, Instructional Assistant Professor of German &
Interim Director of the German Language Program, University of Mississippi

“My technological training through TTSP has been invaluable. As a Teaching + Technology Support Partner I learned numerous ways to facilitate the integration and application of technology for faculty and teaching assistants in my department. Faculty and staff with advanced skills in technology-enhanced pedagogy at the University of Virginia regularly attend TTSP meetings to lecture on cutting-edge techniques and share their expertise in an easily digestible and actionable manner. It is also common for TTSPs to present on topics relating to technology usage in their disciplines. Teaching and Technology Support Partners serve individual departments as a resource for technical questions and receive substantial training as a technical and pedagogical consultant. Thanks to mentorship and professional development in the TTSP program, I found myself more equipped to ask meaningful questions, listen mindfully to the concerns of my colleagues, and craft novel solutions for unique problems.”

Patrick Guilbaud, Director, Adult Programs & Associate Professor, Winthrop University

“I have fond memories of my days as a TTSP, and will always be grateful for the additional funding and experience it gave me during my final years at UVa in the PhD program! Being a Teaching + Technology Support Partner gave me serious skills in learning new technology, learning new ways to apply it, and teaching others to use it well. Since my tenure as a TTSP, I’ve worked at three institutions, each of whom asked about my technology skills both prior to and during the campus interview. (Two were tenure-track positions.) There were two critical lessons I learned as a TTSP. First, while I am a heavy user of tech, I’m not naturally tech-savvy–but being a TTSP taught me how to learn new programs and pedagogies quickly, and opened my eyes to the many, many possibilities for new technology: that skill makes me quick to adapt new tech to my needs, and to see the possibilities for tech. The second thing I learned is that I’ll ALWAYS be learning. Technology never sits still, so whether I am comfortable or cutting edge today, there will be new software, hardware, and pedagogies for tomorrow, with new changes in how I teach.

Being a TTSP helped make me nimble and fearless–two excellent characteristics, particularly since I am a non-traditionally aged scholar. For my students, having skills as a tutor figures prominently in the their ability to get jobs in the business world. It means they can relate new information to a wide variety of learners, which means they have excellent people skills. The ability to communicate is highly prized in the real world: being a TTSP is proof of that ability.

One of the highlights of my time at my current university so far was having a newly-hired instructor tell me that my class on how to use video to teach French was helpful….a decade after I had taught him.

This program helped me pay for my schooling after my regular teaching assistantship ran out: in my field, we get four or five total years of assistantship, but finishing the dissertation takes an average of eight, all together. The TTSP hours were very flexible, so I could manage working on my dissertation and paying the bills. The work was fun, and I was always energized by the teaching and by being a TTSP!”

A. Renee Gutiérrez,  Assistant Professor, Spanish, Longwood University

“The TTSP program was a great learning experience for me during my graduate career. It opened my eyes to several teaching technologies that I have since returned to use as I teach my own courses. At the time, helping faculty with these tools also opened dialog with several of my colleagues in a way that fostered congeniality and even collaboration. In addition, some of the educational theories that I learned about during my TTSP training and meetings were very novel to me, especially coming from Engineering. These have served me well since, as I have applied them in classrooms. It was also very empowering to learn about new technologies and how to best apply them in the classroom: I used my knowledge to guide my own research work at times, and even to suggest technological solutions to my graduate student peers. Without a doubt, the TTSP program broadened my horizons in graduate school: I met students from departments across the University whom I would have otherwise never met; it opened the doors of faculty in my own department I might not have otherwise interacted with; and I expanded my own knowledge, on ideologies about education and the tools available to effectively teach and communicate via technology. I highly recommend this program to anybody considering it!”

Christina Haden, Postdoctoral Research Assistant and Adjunct Faculty, Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics, Lehigh University

“Being a TTSP introduced me to a ton of useful pedagogical technology that I probably would not have had the opportunity to explore otherwise. Every week for two years, we got to learn about new tools or expand our understanding of existing platforms. The results of this exposure were easy to see in my own work. For example, I used software that I learned about in our TTSP meetings to record a lecture and slideshow for a conference that I couldn’t attend in person.

Moreover, my time as a TTSP certainly had a positive effect on my teaching. You can’t spend two years thinking about the pros and cons of certain pedagogical technologies without learning more about your own values as a teacher. Sometimes this means trying to think of ways to be a more effective teacher by means of technology (e.g., Should this assignment take the form of a blog entry? Could this grammar review be delivered electronically, before the start of class?). But more often, it means thinking carefully about how to engage my students creatively. In a certain way, your role as a TTSP is to study and evaluate the new and creative ways that other people have invented in the hopes of creating more effective classrooms. Sometimes those technologies are successful, sometimes not. But thinking hard about them gives you a better perspective on your own teaching goals.

The best part about being a TTSP, and our means of gaining exposure to a wide variety of technologies and pedagogical issues, was our weekly meetings. For two years, I had the chance to meet on a weekly basis with Anne Ingram and my fellow TTSPs. I was, therefore, in constant contact with people more experienced than myself in the field of pedagogical technology. During these sessions I also got a sense of technological issues facing other departments. But my favorite part of our weekly meetings were the conversations we had about pedagogical technique. These discussions often began on a technological note, like the efficacy of MOOCs, for example. But these talks were nearly always wide-ranging and concerned not only with the effects of technology on the classroom, but with effective teaching technique in general.”

Ben Jasnow, PhD Classics

“One of the goals of my TTSP position was to encourage faculty in my department to use the online testing tool in Collab. In my first semester, I worked with two faculty. I assessed their needs, learned how to use the tool in a way that supported those needs, and then trained them and their graduate teaching assistants to create, administer, and grade online exams. When we ran into bugs in the system, I found the appropriate people on campus to help resolve the issues. For example, the wireless signal was not powerful enough to support classes with over 300 students accessing the testing website simultaneously in the classroom. This was not something the Collab support staff had anticipated, and we worked with the IT department to resolve the issue. We also reported student feedback on the testing tool to Collab developers. For example, students had to press a “submit” button to save their answer choice after each test question. At the end of the test, the “submit” button was moved slightly to the left, and the “submit test” button – a permanent selection – had been put in its place. Not surprisingly, students found that they accidentally “submitted their test” instead of “submitting” their last answer choice, which prevented them from looking over their exam before submitting it. Through our feedback, the developers switched the buttons to better align with these human factors. The faculty were happy with the end result, and continued to use this technology beyond my tenure as a TTSP. In fact, they encouraged other faculty to use this technology and a second TTSP student began the process of training interested faculty. Over the years, this switch to online testing has saved our department thousands of dollars in paper and toner costs.

I am glad I decided to apply for a TTSP position. My experiences helped me to develop professional and technical skills that were useful as a graduate student and are still useful in my current position as a faculty member at Appalachian State University. For example, when I taught my own course as a graduate student, it was easy for me to develop my course Collab site because of the TTSP training sessions. Similarly, although my current institution uses a different online learning platform, the online testing tool is much the same. I was able to transfer what I had learned about this type of tool from TTSP, which saved me a lot of time. Another TTSP training session familiarized me with tools to edit and post large video files on course websites. As both a graduate student and current faculty member, I have been in charge of training graduate student teaching assistants. As part of my training courses, I video-tape the students as they teach so that we can evaluate their progress. In fact, you can read about this improvement that I recently implemented in the Teaching of Psychology course at Appalachian State University in the APA Division II e-book, “Preparing the New Psychology Professoriate” (Fox, Galloway & Kondrad, 2014). Finally, the training I received through TTSP has helped me become an effective mentor for my students. I learned how to actively listen in TTSP. This is a skill TTSP taught us so that we would be effective when helping faculty learn to use online resources; but now, I use this skill when working with my graduate Masters students and my undergraduate honors students when we discuss their research and how to achieve the goals that they set. I would encourage graduate students at UVA to apply for a position in the TTSP program. There are so many ways that technology can help faculty be better at their jobs, and students be more successful in the classroom, and TTSP is a perfect medium for bringing help to faculty who need it. In addition, as a TTSP student, you will meet interesting people all over campus, develop relationships with the faculty in your department, and learn professional skills that will be useful now and in your future.”

Reference: Fox, P.A., Galloway, A.T,, & Kondrad, R.L., S. A. (2014). Preparing psychology graduate students to teach: Where are we and where are we going? In J. N. Busler, B. C. Beins, & B. Buskist (Eds.) Preparing the New Psychology Professoriate: Helping Graduate Students Become Competent Teachers, 2nd ed.

Robyn Kondrad,  Assistant Professor, Psychology  Appalachian State University

“TTSP was a great experience for me. It’s a terrific program; the TTSP fellowship gave me essential funding during graduate school as well as helped me to enhance and apply technological training that has long been beneficial.  Additionally, developing the skills not just to teach college-age students but also to teach faculty members is important for finding your voice as a scholar and for becoming a thoughtful and supportive department member.  I felt supported by the program while I was also given ample freedom to develop relationships with faculty members, utilizing key time management skills useful for any future position.  Even over a decade later, I find that I mention TTSP as a foundational program not only in my own development but as a program that other universities should attempt to emulate.”

Abigail Manzella, Visiting Assistant Professor, English, University of Missouri

“I am glad to hear that the TTSP program is still flourishing. Thriving universities are complex institutions that depend on a broad range of operations–many led by professional staff — that are invisible to most students. As a TTSP you will be a member of a cross-functional team that leverages constantly-evolving technology to help create leading edge learning experiences. While the work is rewarding in its own right, you will learn a great deal from very talented colleagues whom you otherwise would not meet. You will discover a range of creative and fulfilling professional opportunities that you did not know exist. If the job market in your field is challenging, being a TTSP could enhance your chances of a successful search–it also will make you much more marketable for non-teaching positions at universities and elsewhere.

One of the skills you develop as a TTSP is self-learning and how to figure things out on your own. There is always more than one way to approach a challenge, and you will have an opportunity to test your ideas on your own and in dialog with your team members. The testing is not hypothetical–you get to see how well the products that you help create work. Most products will have more than one iteration as you get feedback from the people who use them. While much student academic work tends to be done individually, work in most professional environments depends on teamwork, an open discussion of ideas, listening to your team members, and an ethos that the best ideas should win no matter who first comes up with them.”

Brian Moriarty, Adjunct Lecturer & Director, Institute for Business in Society; Director, Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics, Darden School of Business

“The TTSP program was immensely valuable to me…It helped me choose my current career path and get a job I truly enjoy…I have always enjoyed working with technology and I thought to major in computer science in undergrad, but I ultimately did not. When a TTSP position opened up in the French department my second year of the PhD, I eagerly applied. I greatly enjoyed working with professors and TAs, and I helped them primarily with their course sites in UVaCollab…When I graduated from UVa, I sought work in tech support. It was extremely fortunate for me that a position opened at UVaCollab Support right when I needed a job!  Since I had helped instructors with UVaCollab as a TTSP, I had some background in it…I have been working for UVaCollab Support since November, and I love my job…Without the experience I gained as a TTSP, it is very likely that I would not have been able to do the kind of work which I am doing now…Fortunately, my experience as TTSP opened up the possibility for such a career path.”

Tiffany Stull, UVaCollab User Support Specialist, ITS Scholarly Technology, University of Virginia

“When I was a TTSP PowerPoint was a cutting edge tool and one could read a magazine in the time that it took a single webpage to load on his/her 12 inch CRT monitor (that weighed 80 lbs)… I noticed that the TTSP website lists preparing graduate students for “future roles as faculty members” as one of the main benefits of the program.  You might consider adding that the program is also great for those who enter alternative academic positions, or who pursue careers outside of academia entirely.  When I think about it, some of the skills that I learned as a TTSP translate very well to the administrative work that I’m doing nowadays.

The TTSP program provided me an opportunity to work closely with faculty members who were engaged in the process of course design and to think about about how best to leverage technology in order to facilitate student learning.  The program also gave me the opportunity to work collaboratively with faculty and other students, and gave me the freedom to think creatively on the best ways to achieve certain pedagogical goals.  This experience directly influenced my own teaching, and was an enormous benefit when I thought about how to design my own courses.  Another clear benefit was the opportunity to learn about the variety of technologies being used to support teaching and learning across the entire university, which also provided valuable insight into how faculty and students in different disciplines approach teaching.  On the more practical side, the program provided me with excellent experience in how to manage multiple projects simultaneously, and how to engage in work that was more self-directed, which I found to be very useful as I approached my own research.  It also helped me to learn about different units across the university and their relationships to one another. Overall, the time that I spent as a TTSP was enormously valuable and has facilitated my career development in a number of ways that I think would benefit students interested in a very wide variety of career paths.”

Phillip Trella, Assistant Vice President, Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, University of Virginia

“I was a TTSP for the McIntire Department of Art and Architectural History from 2007 – 2010. This was an important time for the department because we were making the transition from analog slides to digital images, Collab and SIS were being launched, and more pressure was being applied on faculty to use these new digital technologies.  My position gave me instruction from many of the specialists of these new technologies and helped me better understand the potential for the digital side of the Humanities.

I am currently the Director of the Visual Resources collection for the Art Department, a position I most assuredly obtained due to the experience gained from being a TTSP. The technical instruction and the one-on-one time with faculty helped me become proficient in the required skills and develop professional interpersonal skills.  When I got the position, initially of Assistant Director, I told one of the faculty members with whom I worked as a TTSP and they replied: ‘Of course.  Who else can do what you do?'”

Daniel Weiss, DirectorVisual Resources Collection, University of Virginia