Series lays out process for developing a learning assistant program

· 2 min read

Series lays out process for developing a learning assistant program

A series of five sessions beginning March 29 will introduce the fundamentals of establishing and managing an undergraduate teaching assistant program to support the instructional needs of a course or program.

“Developing an Undergraduate Learning Assistant Program,” which is hosted by the Center for Transformative Teaching, will guide participants through the steps of getting a program off the ground, all the way from conceiving of an initial vision for a program to recruiting, training and working successfully with learning assistants. The sessions are 2:30 to 4 p.m. daily from March 29 to April 2.

“The series will begin with a basic overview of how programs work and why they can be highly valuable,” Eric French, instructional designer, said. “Subsequent sessions will walk through specific aspects of their implementation.”

Learning assistants help facilitate class activities, lead supplementary sessions, help instructors refine their pedagogical approaches, work with students who are struggling, help manage assignment grading, serve as intermediaries between students and instructors, and play many other critical roles in supporting a course.

Learning assistant programs have been used throughout the university, especially in courses within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences are also increasingly turning to undergraduate assistants. In these courses, learning assistants have helped facilitate labs and classroom activities, assisted with other instructional priorities and generally made high-enrollment classes feel smaller for students.

“Undergraduate teaching assistants, or learning assistants, can provide enormous benefit to both students and instructors,” French said.

Participants will have opportunities to discuss with instructional designers and other faculty participants how they might be able to use learning assistants to meet the unique needs of their course or department.

Faculty and administrators who would like to learn more about the potential for leveraging an undergraduate learning assistant program in service of student success are encouraged to register for this workshop series. Each session will be recorded for later viewing for registrants that cannot attend.

For more information and to register for the series, click here.

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