Are you an undergraduate interested in teaching and education research? Below are some frequently asked questions about what it means to be a learning assistant (LA). If you're interested in applying, click the application icon in the sidebar to get started!
Q: What is a learning assistant (LA), and how is it different from being a teaching assistant (TA)?
A: LAs are high performing students who have previously completed the course which they are helping to teach. Unlike typical undergraduate teaching assistants, whose involvement might be limited to passing out materials or setting up the classroom or laboratory, LAs are actively involved in teaching, alongside faculty or graduate teaching fellows.
Q: What does an LA do?
A: LAs work about 10 hours a week to aid faculty in teaching. Part of that work involves weekly meetings with lead faculty and other LAs. In the classroom, LAs can lead activities, facilitate small group discussions, give demonstrations, and provide students with explanations. While they are supervised by faculty, they are given the independence to develop their own teaching styles. LAs are also given an opportunity to learn about education research through small research projects that use their actual experiences to reflect upon teaching practices.
Q: Does becoming an LA require special training?
A: Usually to become an LA you must first successfully complete the course you are helping to teach. LAs learn about pedagogy, the methods of teaching, in a 2-credit course. In this course, new LAs read and discuss relevant education pedagogy, reflect on and share their experiences in the classroom, and learn about specific discipline-based techniques they can implement.
Q: What are the benefits of being an LA?
A: The secondary benefits vary depending on the department but all LAs receive valuable teaching experience and mentorship from teaching faculty. LAs also complete research projects that may count toward their experiences toward undergraduate research which allows them to add a special designation to their transcript. Some LAs are paid, depending on the department.
Q: Which courses can I work in as an LA?
A: LA-assisted courses are available in the following departments and programs. This list is always changing and growing, so we recommend that you check back or check in with your professors quarterly if you're interested in a specific course.
Biochemistry and Biophysics
BB 450: General Biochemistry
Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering
CBEE 102: Problem Solving and Computations
CBEE 211: Material Balances
CBEE 212: Energy Balances
CBEE 213: Process Data Analysis
CHE 311: Thermo
CHE 312: Thermodynamics
CHE 361: Process Dynamics
CH 12X: General Chemistry Series
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
CS 161: Intro to CS I
CS 162: Intro to CS II
CS 160 : CS Orientation
CS 160H: Honors CS Orientation
CS 161: Intro to CS
CS 162: Intro to CS
ECE 112: Intro to ECE
ECE 111: Introduction to ECE: Tools
ECE 272: Digital Logic Design Laboratory
ENGR 111 : Engineering Orientation
ENGR 199 : Engineering Special Topics
ENGR 201 : Electrical Fundamentals 1
BI 211H: Honors Principles of Biology
BI 212: Principles of Biology
BI 212H: Principles of Biology
BI 213: Principles of Biology
BI 213H: Principles of Biology
BI 231: Intro. Anatomy & Physiology
BI 232: Intro. Anatomy & Physiology
BI 233: Intro. Anatomy & Physiology
BI 331: Adv. Anatomy and Physiology
BI 332: Adv. Anatomy and Physiology
BI 333: Adv. Anatomy and Physiology
Z 371: Vertebrate Biology
Z 427/527: Paleobiology
MTH 103: Algebraic Reasoning
MTH 111: College Algebra
MTH 112: Elementary Functions
ENGR 112: Engineering Computing
MIME 101: Introduction to MIME
PH 201: Physics
PH 202: General Physics
PH 203: General Physics
ST 351: Introduction to Statistical Methods
ST 352: Introduction to Statistical Methods