Faculty interested in transforming their course to include the high-quality, student-centered teaching and learning that aligns with FIUs Vision and Mission, should consider integrating Learning Assistant (LAs) into their courses. LAs are students with relevant prior coursework who have received pedagogical training to work in partnership with instructors as they facilitate collaborative student learning. Faculty-LA teams work together to facilitate learning in transformed courses.
This brief video provides information about LAs, the LA model, and the benefits of LA-support on student learning:
The LA model
The LA model is central to the success of LA programs. The model includes:
- Practice: LAs gain hands-on practice with facilitating learning and providing feedback to students and faculty.
- Pedagogy: First-time LAs take a weekly pedagogy seminar that covers aspects of cognitive learning, such as how to ask open questions, and sociocultural learning, such as microaggressions in classrooms.
- Preparation meetings: These are regular meetings between faculty and LAs that allow the team to reflect on the previous week, review materials for the upcoming week, discuss sticking points that students encounter, and to address any other student concerns.
Benefits of an LA-supported course
|“… I have been pleased with the effectiveness of my LAs as discussion leaders; it appears that students are more likely to contribute ideas and debate issues in the presence of an LA (as opposed to a professor). I also note that my class has been more engaged in their online discussion groups than in past semesters, likely due to the fact that one of my LAs has taken on [the] responsibility to manage the discussions.” -Dr. A, FIU Professor|
There is a wealth of information available about the efficacy of LA programs. For more information, please visit the LA Alliance website, here.
Here are some of the things that we have learned about LA-supported courses here at FIU:
- Improved passing rates
- Improved learning gains as measured by concept inventories
- Students feel a sense of community in the classroom
- Students feel a greater sense of feeling that they belong within STEM
To learn more about the application process or to apply, please click here.