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From tweaking an ICON grade book to helping an instructor navigate a TILE classroom, Student Instructional Technology Assistants (SITAs) work with instructors from across the UI campus to maximize student success using technology effectively and efficiently.

As half-time, Center for Teaching student employees, the SITAs works with instructors in one-time consultations as well as short and long-term projects. SITAs provide insight on technology use, offer design and production assistance, and introduce other instructional resources as needed. 

Faculty requests sometimes go beyond what commonly used tools such as ICON or the wiki have to offer.

“Often what an instructor wants isn’t an ‘off-the-shelf’ technology,” says Steve Silva, Associate Director, Center for Teaching and SITA program manager. “We like to begin a consultation by asking the instructor about their course objectives and how they support student learning. Then we simply listen.”

SITAs and instructors explore options for a tool that best fits course learning objectives. Often, the tool is a technology, but not always. The main goal is implementing teaching and learning strategies that work best for students and instructors alike.

“We like to say we’re in the solutions business,” says Silva.

Recently Karolyn Wanat, clinical assistant professor of dermatology, sought a way to keep medical students engaged during downtime while on their two-week dermatology rotation. For Wanat, this seemed to be a missed opportunity for learning.

“We have them in the clinic rotation for only a couple of weeks, and I didn’t want any time to go to waste,” she says.

Together with Dermatology Resident Pooja Chitgopeker, Wanat had an idea for a mobile app students could use to review actual cases, develop diagnoses, share comments with other students, and then share this material with Dermatology faculty for review.

As the instructors and the SITAs collaborated, they focused on what was essential to student learning as well as what was most efficient and sustainable for future implementation.

Working with other College of Medicine faculty members and bringing in the expertise of ITS application developers, the SITA staff built a simple web app that takes students through a multistep process of patient intake, examination using of actual patient images, and diagnosis. Faculty members can review and provide feedback through a blog contained within the app.

The app also allows Dermatology faculty to modify and upload new cases without outside assistance.

Wanat and her staff are assessing the impact of the app on student learning and are looking for external funding to further develop the app and potentially make it available to other medical educators.

 “I don’t think we would have done this project without SITA help,” says Wanat, adding that other departments in the College and elsewhere at UI are now interested in using the app.

Contact SITA at Or stop by the Center for Teaching's new location for a consultation at the new office in the 2080 University Capitol Centre, above Hills Bank. SITA staff members are available Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm and by appointment.

For instructors interested in 1-on-1 consultation with a SITA, contact