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The role of an Academic Assistant is customizable to fit the specific needs of your asynchronous classroom.
The purpose of their presence is to relieve faculty of some of the everyday classroom tasks, allowing more time for faculty to focus on course content and delivery. AAs are part-time, contract employees but function as an extension of the course professor.
You may use your academic coaches for:
AAs may grade discussions, assignments, quizzes, exams, and/or essays and projects. A clear, highly detailed grading rubric and/or grading/feedback examples must be provided by faculty, so the coach can mirror the grading style of the faculty as closely as possible. AAs may also be granted permission to make point adjustments for late submissions. Ensuring inter-rater reliability is the responsibility of the instructor of record for the course. There is a minimum of a 72-hour turnaround time for grading items after the due date passes.
AAs may function (per your direction) as the initial point of contact for your students and respond to all email inquiries within 24 hours of receipt. Most of the email volume will be addressing logistical questions, which can alleviate you of a significant time commitment. As professionals in the subject area of your course, they may also respond to content questions at your discretion. Any inquiries requiring your approval, such as due date changes, extensions, and grading adjustments will be elevated to you.
In addition to grading discussions, AAs may be used to facilitate and/or monitor asynchronous discussion boards and blog posts.
AAs may not be responsible for any course content – they cannot draft assignments, write test questions, develop rubrics, or put together lecture or supplemental materials. The AA position is asynchronous by definition, they are not required to hold pre-determined office hours and are not required to be available for live events. For courses with multiple AAs, each AA must be responsible for the same set of tasks for their own distinct student group that they will work with for the entire term.
Effective communication and collaboration are essential to a successful Professor-Academic Assistant team. Your AA will be contacting you periodically throughout the course to schedule conference calls; they are tasked with recording meeting notes to be stored as a resource for the University during accreditation inspections, if needed. A Pre-Course Conference Call is also mandatory so that AAs and Faculty of Record are fully aware of responsibilities, expectations and course layout. Helpful information that you may want to share includes your approach to teaching in general, the course schedule, a brief syllabus review, assignment instructions, your expectations for the students, learning objectives, duties for the coach, and a review of your grading rubrics.
If enrollment in your course or program warrants the addition of a Coordinating Coach, one may be added. A Coordinating Coach is responsible for overseeing all coach activities in the course and will be available to guide and assist the other coaches. A Coordinating Coach may or may not be carrying students in your course – if not, they will have no direct interaction with your students unless needed to assist in an emergency.