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FAQ

How the Virtual-TA Service Works

Free Up Faculty Time!

Our Virtual-TA service provides on-demand teaching-assistant services. We have assembled a large pool of Masters- or PhD-qualified experts in a wide array of academic disciplines. We also developed a technology platform that allows our TAs to electronically insert detailed, actionable feedback directly into student assignments.


The Preliminaries for a Responsive Service

Once your institution signs up for the service, we work with your department chairs or faculty members directly, often weeks ahead of a semester. Knowledge Managers, who supervise our TAs, start liaising directly with your faculty, familiarizing themselves with textbooks, supplementary readings and assignments.


Clockwork Schedule to Ensure Timely Feedback 

Your instructors give us the schedule of assignments, when student assignments are due, when we might expect to receive them electronically, when the scored assignments will be returned, the learning outcomes on which to score the assignments, the rubrics to be used and the weights to be applied to different learning outcomes. We can use your rubrics to score assignments or design rubrics for sign-off by your faculty members.

Instructors Have Anytime, Anywhere Access

Next, we will guide your faculty through a few simple steps on how to upload raw assignments and download graded assignments. Student assignments can be in MS-Word, Excel or PowerPoint.


Feedback Tied to Learning Outcomes

Next, our Virtual-TAs access the assignments, review and embed feedback using color-coded pushpins (each color corresponds to a specific learning outcome) directly onto the electronic assignments. Color-coded pushpins provide a powerful visual diagnostic.


Comments that Engage, Motivate

The feedback is specific, detailed, constructive and actionable. It points out strengths and weaknesses in the student’s work, choosing supportive language that keeps students engaged and wanting to learn more about how they did. Our TAs familiarize themselves with assigned textbooks, and other resources identified by the instructor and refers students to specific pages, sites, etc.


Instructor Controls the Whole Process

We do not have any contact with your students. Instructors retain full control of the process, from designing the assignments in the first place, to specifying learning outcomes and attaching weights to each outcome. Instructors also review the work of our TAs through a step called the Interim Check, which happens after 10% of the assignments have been completed. Faculty provide feedback, offer any further instructions and eventually sign-off on the work done, before our TAs continue with the remainder of the assignments.


Double-Blind Process Ensures Compliance with FERPA

Our Virtual-TA process fully complies with the FERPA. The instructor logs into our system, uploads the assignments and then scrambles the files before leaving the system. This ensures that our work takes place in a double-blind process, thus ensuring the confidentiality of student work. Likewise, once the assignments are embedded with feedback, an e-mail to the instructor signals that he/she can log back into the system to unscramble the files and download the scored assignments.


Composite Scores

Finally, upon the request of the instructor, the weights he/she specified to the learning outcomes will be rubric-based scores which are used to generate a composite score for each student assignment.


Summative Report to the Instructor

As an added bonus, our Virtual-TAs provide a detailed, summative report for the instructor on the overall class performance on the given assignment, which includes a look at how the class fared on each outcome, where the students did well, where they stumbled and what concepts, if any, need reinforcing in class the following week. We can also, upon request, generate reports by Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). This report can be used by the instructor to immediately address gaps in learning at the individual or classroom level.


Immediate Closing-of-the-Loop

Think of this as a micro-closing-of-the-loop that happens each week.  Contrast this with the broader, closing-the-loop that accompanies program-level assessment of learning, which might happen at the end of a whole academic year or later!


Longitudinal Learning-Outcomes Data

Continue using our Virtual-TA for all core (and elective, if you wish) courses and receive cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses and reports by learning-outcome, cohort, program, campus, demographics, etc. Administrators will find such data and reports a compelling empirical foundation on which to develop changes.

To set up a meeting or to get
more information, e-mail us at sales@richfeedback.com


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