Need guidance in how to get the most out of your courses? Want to talk with someone who understands your struggles first hand? Make an appointment to talk with the Learning Assistant (LA) for your course.
LA’s are assigned to many IST and SRA courses during Fall and Spring semesters and are excellent resources for students. Like TA’s, they help the instructor manage the course, but they offer the added benefit of understanding what it takes to learn the material well, having recently successfully completed the course you are now taking.
Learning Assistants (LA’s) are motivated undergraduate students who serve as learning coaches and mentors for students, while supporting instructors with teaching-related tasks. LA’s are assigned to a particular course, and they work closely with instructors to provide challenging and meaningful learning experiences for enrolled students. There are two types of LA’s: LA coaches (primarily responsible for assisting with learning activities) and LA tech support/graders (primarily responsible for assisting with grading and technical support in the course).
Where can I find my LA?
If your course has an LA assigned to it, contact information should be listed on your syllabus. Many LA’s hold office hours, and those should be listed on the syllabus as well. If your LA holds office hours during Tutoring Sessions, you may benefit from both your assigned LA and other LA’s who are typically on call during college-wide tutoring hours (see Tutoring Sessions on this site).
What kind of help can I expect of my LA?
Your course instructor determines what, exactly, your LA will do. Most often, LA coaches assist in explaining course concepts, providing feedback on assignments, helping teams get organized for large projects, and helping students get started on challenging problems and assignments. Typically, LA tech support/graders assist with setting up virtual labs, grading and providing feedback, and trouble-shooting problems with course technologies.
Do I have an opportunity to provide feedback to my LA?
Students are asked to provide feedback to LA’s during the semester. You will receive emails inviting you to complete these evaluations.
What are the qualifications for a student to become an LA?
Successful LA applicants must show good understanding of course material (having completed the course with high marks), good communication skills, initiative, and a desire to help others learn. Additional requirements are as follows:
LA coach requirements:
- earn grade of A- or A in the assigned course
- GPA of 3.0 or higher
LA tech support/grader requirements:
- earn grade of A in the assigned course
- GPA of 3.3 or higher
- senior standing (or, in some cases, junior standing)
Where can I read more about what it takes to be an LA?
The formal job description provides more information on the LA position.