LA Overview

Learning Assistants

poster.jpgLearning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduates who are hired to facilitate small-group interaction in our courses. LAs are paid a modest stipend (~$1,500/semester) to work 10 hours per week in various aspects of course transformation.

The LA experience is valuable for students who continue on to any career. LAs who decide to pursue a K-12 teaching license are eligible to apply for Noyce Scholarships of $11,500.


Roles & Responsibilities

LAs help transform courses by creating environments in which students can interact with one another, engage in collaborative problem solving, articulate and defend their ideas, and explicitly discuss aspects of the nature of science and the nature of learning science.

Although the LA experience is somewhat different for each course, it includes three main themes; content, practice, and pedagogy. These themes are brought into the experience through four related activities:

  1. Assisting Lead Instructors in the Classroom: LAs help facilitate collaboration among learning teams of 6-20 students by formatively assessing student understanding and asking guiding questions. This can occur through the facilitation of small discussions groups in classes and/or in recitations/help sessions. LAs will use good questioning skills and work to involve all students in meaningful group work. LA meet weekly with their faculty instructors to plan for the upcoming week, reflect on the previous week, and analyze student assessment data.
  2. Participate in a School of Education Seminar: LAs attend a 2 credit hour course, EDUC 4610, on Tuesdays OR Wednesdays, from 5-6:30 p.m. where they reflect on their own teaching and learning and make connections to relevant education literature.
  3. Participating in the Assessment Program: LAs are expected to participate in a variety of observations, assessments, and questionnaires. The data will help track LAs' experiences.
  4. Participating in a Learning Community: LAs, course instructors, and students learn together.