Pedagogy Course

Peer Instruction Education (01:090:322)

Learning assistants are required to co-enroll in this pedagogy course during their first semester in the LA Program, and subsequent participation in the LA Program is contingent upon successful completion of this course.

Course Overview

The content of this course focuses on effective methods of college teaching and instructional strategies. Students participate in activities design to increase their understanding of the role of a peer educator. The instructional strategies taught in this class align with the RLC and MSLC's guiding principles of student-centered, active, cooperative learning environments and differentiated classroom instruction.

Through this course, students learn how to:

  • work with course instructors to facilitate small-group learning among students in their lectures
  • help teaching assistants facilitate individual and small-group student learning during recitations
  • lead study groups, which involves
    • designing student-centered activities that
    • facilitating small group learning through dialogic discourse and effective questioning techniques

Course Topics

Learning assistants are trained to facilitate learning and engage students in scientific discourse (rather than act as experts who have knowledge that needs to be transmitted to the student). Topics include:

  • questioning techniques
  • qualities of effective teachers
  • learning theories
  • cooperative learning
  • memory and metacognition
  • activity design
  • discipline-based education research

Course Structure

The course design models active and collaborative learning experiences for the students, who then can apply these strategies and techniques in their assigned lectures, recitations, and study groups.


Course Offerings

Currently, this course is offered every fall semester for first-year learning assistants. To discuss designing such a course, or the potential to offer such a course for the peer leaders in your program, please email Alice Seneres or Stacey Blackwell.



    I recently completed a 6-month volunteering project in Brazil where part of my duties included teaching English, Spanish, and basic science to at-risk and orphaned youth and adolescents. Everything that I learned in the LA Program’s Peer Instructor Education Course (particularly related to collaborative learning environments) and through being a genetics learning assistant was incredibly helpful and, without a doubt, enhanced my ability to reach out and teach such a tough population.

    Melanie Davila
    BA Genetics, minor Public Health (2013)
    learning assistant for genetics (01:447:380) 2012-2013