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.
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, specialized software or virtual labs, feedback on writing, grading (assuming a rubric), out-of-class tutoring, and other learning-focused responsibilities. Successful applicants are highly skilled, advanced students who meet a strict set of qualifications:
- Grade of A- or A in the assigned course
- cum GPA of 3.2 or higher
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 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 1-3 credits of IST 389 (depending on whether you will be receiving credit or pay for your work as an LA). The course meets Fridays 3:35 – 4:50 P.M. for the first half of the semester. A second section on Friday mornings will be opened if needed. A college administrative assistant will enroll you in one of these sections after you have been officially hired.
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 may 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).
- For Fall 2020, all LAs will have the opportunity to be paid, including first year LAs. Rate of compensation is currently being discussed. You will be notified when that decision has been made.
- LA applicants who choose to receive pay must complete the PSU job application, in addition to this application (for information, see here:https://learning.ist.psu.edu/la-application/). The link to the PSU jobs application will be sent to your PSU email account, if you are considered to be a good candidate.
- Successful applicants who are scheduled for their first semester of LA service for the College of IST are required to take IST 389, the training course for LA’s.