Learning Assistant Information for Faculty

Update regarding remote instruction:

The LA program and the Learning Centers are committed to maintaining high quality academic supports during remote instruction. The LA Program is here to support faculty as they integrate their current LAs to their classes.    

We know that reworking your entire course to fit into an online format is a daunting task and it is difficult to translate the active learning components of your course online. The LAs and the LA Program are here to help you achieve your active learning goals during this time. Please scroll to the bottom of this page to see an attached document containing some recommendations for ways LAs can support your course if it moves online LA study groups will continue to be offered at the same times but will also be moved to an online format. If you feel that you will not be able to utilize your LAs in an online setting for your lecture, lab or recitation and would like to have your LA run online study groups instead please reach out so we can make the necessary arrangements. Learning assistants training on running online study groups using conferencing tools in canvas, as well as facilitating discussion boards and question feeds through Canvas. 

Please reach out to us if there is any assistance we can give your course during this hectic time by contacting Dr. Corey Ptak at corey.ptak@rutgers.edu. 

 

The LA Program is now accepting Course Support Requests for the 2021-2022 Academic year

Click here to submit a course support request Deadline: February 14th 2021

 

Summary of the Learning Assistant Program

Learning Assistants (LAs)  have been used to promote active learning, help incorporate educational practices into the classroom, and improve student retention. The benefits to faculty, students and the learning assistant themselves are clear.  The Rutgers LA program follows an international model and as such every learning assistant experience must include the following:

1)  Authentic Classroom Practice - Learning Assistants ( LAs) should be engaged in student centered learning where they are able to apply their pedagogical training to facilitating cooperative learning of small groups.  LAs in many ways are analogous to student teachers and require authentic teaching experiences.  As such,  Learning assistants should be viewed as pedagogical agents of the course and can be included in development of course materials including worksheets, classroom exercises, homework/quiz questions.  The LA model is very flexible and customized implementations are possible to meet the needs of any course. LAs participate in classrooms in a number of important ways:

  1. Embedded - Embedded LAs work to facilitate group activities during scheduled lecture, lab or recitation sections
  2. Study Groups - The LA holds active learning sessions outside of class time.  The students register to attend these weekly study groups

***LAs cannot be used to grade, proctor, or hold 1-on-1 office hours. 

2) Pedagogical Training -  All LAs are required to take our "Pedagogy of Peer-Led Instruction" course. In this class, the LAs learn about pedagogical techniques that can be directly applied to their classroom practices.  The students also learn about different learning theories and take time to reflect on how these theories play out in their own classroom experiences. 

3) Mentorship - The LA program provides pedagogical training to the LAs but the faculty mentor provides content knowledge and context.  The LA-Mentor relationship is critical to successful implementation of the learning assistant model. This mentorship works in both directions.  Faculty have extensive experience to help guide the LA while Learning assistants offer student perspectives and pedagogical training. The Rutgers LA program is committed to positive mentorship and request that LA mentors:

                   a)  Meet with their Learning Assistants for at least 1 hour each week to prepare
                         the LAs for the coming week

                    b)  Give the Learning Assistant feedback on their performance in the classroom
                         and/or any course materials the LA creates

                    c)  Reflect on course materials and student engagement

 

View a list of our partnering courses from recent academic years.

Get Involved 

If you are interested in the LA Program, request a meeting (individual or with colleagues) with Dr. Corey Ptak, Director of Integrated Academic Support Programs, to discuss potential opportunities and strategies for partnering with the LA Program and utilizing Learning Assistants in your course to help facilities active and collaborative learning.