Prospecting LA Resources

What is a Learning Assistant?

Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduate students who facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement.

LAs are paid a stipend to work 8-10 hours per week to support, collaborate and prepare:

  • Support students in various aspects of a course; including lecture, recitation, laboratories, office hours, and/or Help Rooms
  • Collaborate in weekly meetings with faculty and instructional team members
  • Prepare independently for student interactions

LAs work with their Lead Faculty to transform courses by creating environments in which students can interact with one another, engage in collaborative problem solving, articulate and defend their ideas, and explicitly discuss aspects of the nature of teaching and learning within their specific disciplines.

What Learning Assistants CAN do:

Bridge the gap between faculty and students:

  • Create a safe and welcoming learning environment
  • Form relationships with groups of students
  • Respond to questions about instructions, due dates, test dates, and other logistics
  • Hold office hours and/or review sessions.
  • Make it easier and more comfortable for students to ask questions
  • Give instructors feedback from the students’ perspective, including on classroom climate (e.g., whether students feel that the class is welcoming, accessible, equitable)

Facilitate Learning:

  • Provide opportunities for students to get more practice and feedback both in and out of class.
  • Explain concepts to students from another perspective
  • Review student work for completion and provide feedback
  • Monitor and report students’ progress toward the learning goals of the course
  • Test drive activities, clicker questions, quiz questions, exams, etc.

What Learning Assistants CAN’T do:

  • LAs are Learning Assistants and not Teaching Assistants. They should not deliver new content. Instead, they should help to facilitate students’ learning of content covered by the lead instructor or the TA, and help them reason through answering questions and solving problems.
  • Grade student work (However, they can check work for completion and/or give feedback).
  • Respond to grade or attendance disputes, but they can communicate to students, TA’s, and faculty if they notice instances of students in distress, cheating, etc.
  • Administer exams. They can help proctor, but there must be an instructor or TA in the room.