The Teaching with Technology (TWT) certificate program will end in May 2017. All portfolios must be submitted to coordinators by May 5, 2017.

Read more about the program end.

About the Certificate

What is a TWT non-credit certificate?

A Teaching With Technology certificate, granted by The Graduate School (for instructors who are also graduate students) or the Office of Human Resources (for non-graduate instructors), provides evidence of effective use of technology for teaching.

Who awards the TWT Certificate?

The certificate program is co-sponsored by Information Technology Service, the Graduate School and the Office of Human Resources. If you are an instructor who is a graduate student, then the certificate is awarded by the Graduate School. If you are an instructor on the Penn State payroll and not a graduate student, then the certificate is awarded by the Office of Human Resources.

What is the value of a TWT Certificate?

The portfolio can be used by an instructor to to demonstrate teaching effectiveness

What is the process of the TWT Certificate?

The certificate is awarded based on an online portfolio created by the instructor. The portfolio is reviewed by a TWT coordinator in your program or department. Most programs use a rubric similar to the one posted at this site.

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How to Participate

Who can participate?

There are two certificate options:

  1. A Graduate School TWT Certificate, co-sponsored by the Graduate School, for instructors enrolled in a graduate program at Penn State.
  2. An Office of Human Resources Instructor TWT Certificate, co-sponsored by the Office of Human Resources, for other instructors on the Penn State payroll. Examples of candidates for each certificate are listed below
Graduate TWT HRDC Instructor TWT
Candidate must be enrolled in the Graduate School and provide examples of incorporating technology into an instructional setting.

This includes Graduate Assistants (GAs) and other graduate students with instructional experience in their discipline.

Candidate must be on the Penn State payroll. Candidates can include

  • Fixed term instructors
  • Full time instructors and lecturers
  • Instructors paid through supplemental comp
  • Undergraduates acting as instructors who are paid by Penn State
  • Other instructors on the Penn State payroll

If I am a graduate student instructor on the Penn State payroll, which certificate option should I apply for?

Generally speaking graduate students at Penn State should obtain the TWT Certificate from the Graduate School, regardless of their payroll status. Fortunately the registration process for this certificate is very straightforward.

How can I register for the programs?

Instructions for each certificate type are listed on the Registration How To page.

If my department does not have a coordinator, what should I do?

You can contact to request a coordinator. You will be asked for the name of your department and department chair, and the TWT program will contact the department to make the arrangements on your behalf. You should not complete a portfolio without a coordinator. This could cause delays in the review of your portfolio.

Can I get both certificates at the same time?

Not simultaneously. Although some graduate students may be “on the payroll”, the HRDC Instructor version of the program is meant to serve instructors who are not graduate students.

Are the requirements for the two certificate options different?

In many cases no. Typically the same department coordinator evaluates portfolios in both programs, and most coordinators base their evaluation criteria on those listed on the Portfolio Rubric.

However, the coordinator may choose to modify the rubric to emphasize elements he or she feels is important for the discipline. It is recommended that you discuss portfolio requirements with your departmental coordinator so that you both reach a consensus of what is expected.

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When are deadlines?

Specific deadlines are announced for fall, spring and summer sessions on the home page (upper left), although there is flexibility for completing and approving portfolios.

  • Graduate TWT – This portfolio should be approved before graduation. Thus deadlines correspond to a period of two weeks before the final written thesis is due.
  • Instructor TWT – Deadlines are posted on the HRDC Website and are scheduled for several weeks after the semester ends. Candidates should still be on the payroll when the portfolio is approved.
    Note: A Graduate TWT can also be submitted by that time so long as the student is not graduating.

What happens if my coordinator is not available at the time of the deadline?

It is always recommended that you contact your coordinator at the beginning of a semester so that he or she knows your intentions. If your coordinator knows ahead of time that he or she will be away, you can arrange for an alternate deadline or your coordinator may be able to find a replacement to assist you. In emergency situations, deadlines can be extended.

How can instructors learn the technology and teaching skills they need to know?

There are a variety of options available including seminars from ITS Training, educational technology presentations and online tutorials. Updates on new training opportunities and presentations are posted in the on the news section of home page.

See the Get Trained page for a list of available resources.

What are some strategies for scheduling the development of the portfolio?

The TWT Certificate program is a flexible program which means there are lots of options to set your own timeline. Examples for the Teaching With Technology portfolio can be documented while you are using them, and the final portfolio developed later.

The main hurdle for many people is to stitch their examples together, but you can read the Portfolio section for information on how to craft a portfolio. Some candidates may choose to complete the portfolio in a semester with a light teaching load or a vacation. Others may work on it gradually over the course of several weeks.

If you are someone who needs a deadline, you may want to ask your TWT Coordinator or contact to set up an appointment to review the portfolio.

Can I work on my portfolio away from Penn State?

Yes, so long as you are eligible for submission at a future point in time. For instance, if you take a semester off for research purposes, you can continue to work on the portfolio, and may even be able to submit it from a distance.

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What are the requirements of the TWT portfolio

A complete list of requirements are posted on the Rubric page, but the requirements can be subdivided as follows:

  1. The portfolio should be on the Web, but it can be built with any tool from the Blogs at Penn State tools to an external wiki to Dreamweaver. Although the design options are up to you, the portfolio should be legible and usable in terms of finding information.
  2. A teaching philosophy statement. This will help you and readers understand the rationale for implementing certain technology strategies.
  3. Examples of technology use in a variety of situations from communication to presenting content to simplifying "administrivia" which allows you to focus on more interesting instructional goals.

What is a TWT philosophy statement and what should it include?

A TWT philosophy is your personal statement about the benefits of effective use of technologies for teaching and how technology use fits into your future work and life. A teaching philosophy statement should answer how you define effective teaching and learning, your beliefs on best practices for teaching and why you have these beliefs. A teaching philosophy statement can also reflect on your personal history, especially in terms of why you chose the academic discipline that you have.

How big should a TWT portfolio be?

There is no minimum or maximum size or number of elements in a TWT portfolio. Your portfolio can be simple or flashy, depending on your skills and how you want to represent yourself. See the Portfolio requirements and rubric page to base your decisions on what to include.

I’ve never worked with "multimedia" before. What should I include?

The portfolio rubric recommends including multimedia elements because images, video and audio can be powerful channels for getting a message across to students. This does not mean you need to become a professional videographer or artist though. There are many options available including:

  • Simple Concept Maps
  • Excel Charts
  • Photographs you take
  • Grassroots videos and podcasts – these are meant to be "quick and dirty"

You can also borrow images and video from other sources, as long as you have obtained rights for them. Many creators now make their products available for non-educational use, so there are more options to borrow than ever.

Do all of my examples have to be from Penn State courses?

Relevant teaching with technology experience from outside of Penn State can be incorporated into your TWT Portfolio, but please inform your coordinator so that he or she is aware of outside examples.

Can an instructor resubmit a portfolio if a coordinator does not initially approve it?

In cases in which a portfolio is not approved upon the first submission, candidates may make revisions and additions and resubmit during a following semester. Technology projects are often an iterative process.

If I do not have time to complete a Graduate TWT, but am hired as an instructor at Penn State, can I submit the portfolio I was working on before I was hired?

Yes, you can use a pre-existing portfolio to obtain an HRDC staff certificate, but please work with your coordinator so that he or she is aware of your situation.

How long will my portfolio be available after I leave Penn State?

Your Penn State Access ID and personal Web space will be available for 6 months after graduation. Prior to leaving Penn State, you may want to copy your portfolio to a CD or DVD so that you can easily reconstruct it at another location.

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