What is a Learning Assistant?
Learning Assistants (LAs) are an integral part of the TAL@C Fellowship program. An LA is a student who serves as a member of a pedagogical team for a course, partnering with the Faculty Fellow and members of the Center for Teaching and Learning. LAs work with the Faculty Fellow to construct an active and inclusive learning environment in the classroom and to support that learning environment through direct interactions with students during class sessions.
- LAs are students who have already taken the course offered by the Faculty Fellow or have done course work that provides experience with the Faculty Fellow’s content and goals.
- LAs are successful students, but not necessarily “A” students. Students who struggled with course material often provide thoughtful insights into delivery of material and are adept at identifying stumbling blocks in student learning.
Learning Assistant Expectations
LAs engage with Faculty Fellows, students, and the CTL in the following ways:
- Attending Class: It is essential that LAs attend all class sessions to engage with students during activities and help guide their learning processes. LAs are not required to attend lab sessions, office hours, or other class meeting times outside of class periods scheduled by the registrar.
- Three Beginning-of-the-Semester Workshops: Introductory workshops held at the beginning of the semester will inform LAs about practices associated with active and inclusive learning. These workshops will ensure LAs have a strong foundation of best practices in learning for them to help implement in their courses.
- Weekly LA Community of Practice: LAs meet as a group once a week for an hour to receive develop in their roles. These sessions include skill development to enhance student learning. These will occasionally be supplemented with short readings, and discussion about inclusivity in the classroom.
- Hosting Supplemental Instruction Sessions: LAs can support student learning beyond the classroom by hosting additional learning sessions. Supplemental Instruction Sessions offer students the opportunity to develop study skills and engage with course content. The Faculty Fellow and LA will work together to determine if this opportunity will support the course.
- Pedagogical Partners Meetings: PPLAs meet weekly with their Faculty Fellow, the Head Learning Assistant, and one of the directors of the Center for Teaching and Learning. The goal of these meetings is to discuss what occurred in class the previous week and to plan for upcoming classes. The Faculty Fellow and the LA work together to develop teaching strategies that promote active learning in class with guidance from the members of the CTL.
- Additional Meetings: The Faculty Fellow and LA may find it helpful to meet outside of their weekly meetings to discuss the course further.