What is a Learning Assistant Program?
The goal of a Learning Assistant Program is to support student's academic success by implementing various activities that promote active learning, critical thinking, and student engagement in the classroom. To achieve this goal, faculty (called faculty mentors) and undergraduate students (called Learning Assistants) collaborate to implement activities and strategies that facilitate academic success.
Who can be a Learning Assistant?
Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who work closely with a faculty mentor to implement various active learning activities. Typically, LAs have taken and completed the course they are assisting. To ensure that LAs provide appropriate support, they are required to meet weekly with their faculty mentor. These meetings offer the opportunity to plan the following week's activities and discuss any "issues" taking place in the course. Furthermore, first-time LAs are required to take a pedagogy course taught by an experienced faculty. Typically, LAs are hired for 10 hours per week.
What does a Learning Assistant do?
- Participate in weekly meetings with the faculty to review content, plan activities, and prepare for the following week.
- Interact with groups of students to support their learning. Learning Assistants:
- facilitate group discussions in the classroom.
- guide students on how to manage the volume of material in a course.
- provide feedback to students as they prepare complex projects or presentations.
- offer study tips, and help motivate students to succeed.
- develop content mastery, teaching, and leadership skills.
- Participate in the pedagogy course.
What are the responsibilities of the Faculty Mentor?
- Faculty should develop activities that promote active learning and the development of critical thinking skills.
- Faculty must meet weekly with LAs to discuss the active learning activities for the following week. In addition, the faculty mentor and the LA could discuss other course-related topics at these meetings (e.g. difficult topics and strategies to help students).
- Faculty should provide information about the effectiveness of the program and improvement recommendations to Lucia Vazquez (firstname.lastname@example.org).