Learning Assistants (LA’s) are motivated undergraduate students who assist instructors and students in the teaching-learning enterprise. 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 undergraduate Learning Assistants:
The primary requirement is familiarity and success with the course, preferably with the course as taught by a particular instructor; so that the assistant can help with in-class activities, out-of-class tutoring, and other learning-focused responsibilities. (Note: LA coaches do not participate in grading.) Successful applicants are highly skilled communicators who meet a strict set of qualifications:
- Grade of A- or A in the assigned course
- GPA of 3.0 or higher
The successful applicant’s schedule must be open during the class meeting time for the course.
The primary requirement is knowledge of content, so that the assistant can help with grading (assuming a rubric), feedback on writing, and/or specialized software or virtual labs. The student may also be asked to assist with coaching responsibilities as part of the assigned work. Successful applicants are highly skilled, advanced students who meet a strict set of qualifications:
- Grade of A in the assigned course
- GPA of 3.3 or higher
- Senior (and in some cases junior) standing
Unless negotiated otherwise, the successful applicant’s schedule must be open during the class meeting time for the course.
- Meet with instructor in and outside of class, as determined by instructor
- Communicate effectively with supervising instructor, any additional teaching staff, and enrolled students
- Prepare for specific teaching- and learning-related assignments
As assigned by the supervising instructor and indicated on the LA Instructor Work Agreement.
Brand new LA’s are required to participate in two training components:
- Orientation: attend just-in-time training, tips from experienced LA’s, and reception with faculty. This occurs the Sunday immediately before classes begin, usually 1:00 – 5:00PM.
- IST 389 (Leadership and Technology for Instruction): register during the first semester of employment for 1 credit of IST 389. The course meets Fridays 3:35 – 4:50PM for the first half of the semester.
Feedback & Evaluation
Formative feedback should be given to the LA at mid-semester (ideally, to be completed by students in the course and by the instructor). Feedback should be shared with the LA and instructor only. A performance evaluation should occur at the end of the semester (ideally, to be completed by students in the course and by the instructor). The results should be shared with the LA and instructor and filed in the Office of Learning Initiatives.
- Start date is Thursday before classes begin. (LA’s work with instructors online prior to classes.)
- End date is the last day of Finals Week—or whatever earlier date the instructor sets (make end-of-semester travel plans accordingly).
- Tech Support/Graders are typically paid but may opt for credit.
- Coaches are compensated with credit (either 2 additional credits of IST 389, if the LA coach is brand new; or 2 credits of independent study IST/SRA 296, if the LA coach is experienced). Up to 3 total credits of LA work may count as support of option for IST and SRA majors.