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TLA Student Tutors - Introduction

What do TLAs do?
Technology Learning Assistants (TLAs) help Penn State faculty members use technology in their teaching and resource development. Students spend a semester (or more) in one-on-one consultations (5 to 10 meetings) to answer technology questions and help faculty learn the skills necessary to use ANGEL, create Web pages, develop presentations, keep a grade book, or learn other technology skills.

What are the benefits of the TLA initiative?
TLAs gain valuable professional skills and add significantly to their resume. By providing support for faculty clients, TLAs help to build the skills of faculty and help to expanded the use of technology in teaching.

How do students become TLAs?
Any student who is enrolled in IST 297A - Technology in the Classroom (1) may apply to become a TLA [Application to become a TLA].  TLAs are selected based on their skills and interests, their GPA (2.75 or above), and a recommendation from a Penn State faculty or staff member.  Students in IST 297A who are not in the TLA program will be assigned specific projects or activities rather than consultation sessions with faculty.

What's it like being a TLA?
For students, becoming a TLA is quite different from taking a regular course. Being a TLA is similar to an internship -- students do professional work in which they put into practice their communication, organizational, teaching, and technical skills. The program is flexible, allowing undergraduate students to take 1 credit of IST 297A, Technology in Classroom (1).

Can I use my TLA experience as my IST internship?
IST students who wish to take the TLA Training Program as their internship should register for the 1 credit of IST 495 Internship. This program requires 300 internship hours. The course content from IST 297A is included as part of the IST 495 Internship. 

Please contact the TLA Coordinator for more information.

As a part of the TLA tutor program, you will be expected to:

  • Tutor one or two faculty members regularly (5- 10 meetings), or tutor many clients if assigned short-term clients.
  • Create regular progress reports (every other week).
  • Write a 2-3 page reflective paper at the end of the semester (guidelines provided).

How often will TLAs meet with their faculty clients?
Weekly, usually. Some faculty members, however, want less consultation time. TLAs will have some long-term and some short term clients over the semester.

How often will TLAs meet with the course instructors?
Face-to-face or online class meetings  (training sessions) are held once a week during the semester. Other meetings are held upon request of the TLA or the program coordinator. Communication will also take place via e-mail, ANGEL, and on-line discussion.

TLAs are expected to work independently with their faculty clients.  Support is available from the TLA Coordinator when needed.  An ANGEL course site provides resource materials, and the course schedule gives guidance for pacing project work and reporting to instructors.

How much time must a TLA spend working with their faculty clients?
Undergraduate TLAs spend a total of 40 - 45 hours per semester for each course credit they take. This includes time spent in training sessions, writing biweekly journals reporting on their work, arranging meetings, researching answers to client's questions, writing a reflective paper, and, of course, meeting with faculty clients. This is equivalent to the time spent in a traditional course, where one hour in class should be balanced by two hours outside of class working on course-related activities.

As mentioned above, IST students who are taking the TLA Training Program as their internship should expect to put in the required 300 internship hours.

Please contact the TLA Coordinator for more information.

Return to the TLA Program at Lehigh Valley Campus page.