Alex Kaufman

Three Tips to Prepare for the Start of Classes

Blog Post created by Alex Kaufman Employee on Jul 7, 2016

Three tips to ease online homework headaches

by Mike Varela, Ph.D.

Tech TA - Sapling Learning


I’ve had the pleasure of working with Sapling Learning as a Tech TA for over three years. I’ve found that an initial time investment from the professor into the Sapling Learning course leads to the most successful of experiences for both the professors and their students. This investment can come in several forms. Believe it or not, this small time investment can return significant time savings throughout this semester and beyond, and it only takes three easy steps.


Communicate with your Tech TA


What separates Sapling Learning from its competitors is the level of customer service that we offer both our professors and our students. To ensure that we provide the highest level of service, Tech TAs need a level of guidance from their professors to create the best assignments possible.


Most of the professors I’ve worked with at Sapling Learning send me very detailed instructions about what they’d like to have in their course. For example, I’ve been given instructions to adjust grading policies, tailor assignments so that they are no more than 40 questions long, or even to create a course with assignments based on specific sections of a chapter rather than a single chapter assignment.


Course adjustments are best made before the semester begins so that students and instructors can hit the ground running. This is also why Sapling Learning Tech TAs contact professors weeks before their courses begin, so we can accommodate requests well before classes start. Tech TAs can alter courses during the semester, but it’s always more efficient to have the customizations done as early as possible.


Review the assignments in your course


Once the Tech TAs send out a course, professors should confirm that the questions contained in the assignments correspond to the material they plan to cover in their lectures. For example, if a professor asks a Tech TA to remove all questions dealing with elimination reactions, the Tech TA can make these changes prior to sending the course. Once these edits are completed, it is still highly recommended that the professor review the assignments just to confirm that changes actually meet their expectations.


Fortunately, Sapling Learning is easily customized, and questions can be added or removed at almost any time throughout the semester. If you have a question about adding or removing content from an assignment please contact your Tech TA.


Let Student Support Staff share the load


Throughout the semester, your students will undoubtedly have questions. We always recommend that students contact our Student Support at with any issues that they may encounter.


We encourage professors who get emails from students about Sapling Learning to direct their questions to Student Support. Our Student Support staff have science backgrounds and can help answer many of the students’ questions about homework problems or any computer issues that might arise.


Please note that neither our Student Support staff nor Tech TAs are tutors, so the answers we give students will focus on a single question rather than encompass an entire concept from their text.




Professors, if you have any questions, please contact your Tech TA. Students, please contact Student Support. Sapling Learning wishes everyone an excellent 2016-2017 academic year!