Using undergraduates to support your courses — Teaching with Learning Assistants

by Stephanie Chasteen on September 3, 2010

Students work with a Learning Assistant (middle) in physics tutorials

I’m happy to announce that one of the fruits of my labors this summer — a module on Teaching with Learning Assistants at Carleton College’s Science Education Resource Center has now been published!

From the site:

Learning Assistants are talented undergraduate students, primarily in mathematics and the sciences, chosen for their broad interest in teaching and prepared to provide support for student learning in interactive classroom environments. Primarily used in group work, Learning Assistants are specifically prepared to focus on student ideas and facilitate group conversations and conceptual understanding. Learning Assistants are chosen from the top students who took the course in previous semesters, and receive a stipend or class credit for their assistance.

I give data to support the use of LAs, some information on how they are prepared to work with students, and detailed suggestions for what types of activities are best to use with LAs.  And even better, I interviewed faculty to write five detailed case-studies of the use of LAs in the classroom, so you can see how this really plays out in practice.

This is a valuable resource, and one that I’m proud of.  Check it out.

SERC has a lot of great modules on innovative teaching techniques.  If you don’t know of them, take a look around.

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