What is an LA?
The College of Science offers faculty the opportunity to utilize learning assistants (LA) in their classrooms. Our LA program is based on the understanding that learning requires students to articulate and defend their ideas. Thus, LA supported courses provide regular opportunities for students to engage with each other in small groups using challenging curricular materials that help students to get closer to a scientific/mathematical understanding. An LA’s primary role is to facilitate these collaborative environments by listening, observing, engaging students in questioning, helping students articulate their ideas and justify their reasoning to themselves and other students. LAs may also be valuable in providing feedback to the professor on student understanding. LAs can be used in classroom situations such as lecture using clickers, flipped settings, recitation, labs, learning communities, help/review sessions both in person or online. LAs are coached in aspects of pedagogy, and most importantly, how to get students to answer their own questions instead of the LAs giving the answers.