While OSU's use of LAs has been most oriented toward STEM courses, the LA model is adaptable to all undergraduate subjects including the liberal arts. OSU’s LA program aims to improve education and success of all students and to promote the use of evidence-based instructional strategies. The program originated in Integrative Biology and has spread to other units, including physics, engineering, math, and more. In Fall 2017, the OSU LA Program had more than 100 LAs working with 19 different faculty, impacting more than 4,582 STEM students per term.
The OSU LA Program has several goals, including: (i) improving undergraduate student learning in courses; (ii) supporting curricular reform efforts; (iii) providing high performing students an opportunity to learn about the science of teaching and to develop their content knowledge and interpersonal skills, and (iv) providing experiential learning opportunities for OSU students.
The OSU LA program contains three integral pieces: training, practice and content knowledge.
○ First-time LAs take a pedagogy course in which they discuss learning theory, teaching strategies, metacognition, and students’ conceptions all in the context of their LA work.
○ LAs practice what they learn in the pedagogy course when interacting with other LAs and faculty at weekly preparatory meetings and when interacting with other students either in the classroom or in informal learning spaces like office hours.
○ Working with their lead faculty member, LAs not only deepen their content knowledge (at weekly preparatory meetings) but also select a research topic related to how students learn in the course in which they facilitate.