Learning assistant program

Julia Ann Nord, Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, Mary Nelson, Claudette Davis, Mary Ewell, Rebecca Jones, Kelly Knight, Kathy Pettigrew, James Reid Schwebach

Session Information

Year: 2016 | Time: 4:15pm-5:45pm (Poster Session) | Location: (Fenwick 2nd Floor) Poster Session

Abstract

Following the model of the University of Colorado at Boulder Learning Assistant (LA) program, the College of Science (COS) at Mason began its own LA program in 2012. The program is a key segment of the STEM Accelerator program, and is a keystone for retaining students in COS and enabling them to graduate in a timely manner. COS STEM Accelerator has now supported over 300 undergraduate LA’s since it's inception through both internal and external funding. The LA program is very successful in increasing grades, engaging students in large lecture classes, enabling faculty to better utilize the ALT classroom, increasing retention in sciences and also increasing confidence and GPA’s for the undergraduate LA’s.  The cornerstones of the LA program are student mentoring by the faculty sponsor, a required seminar in pedagogical techniques, and face-to-face time with students in the classroom.

 

This interactive presentation will include information about the program in COS. Faculty and students will demonstrate examples of how LA’s are integrated into different learning environments and across disciplines.  Examples will include LA’s in the ALT classroom, in large and small lectures, in lab, in orals, and on-line.  Disciplines include Biology, Chemistry, Forensic Science, Geography, Geology, Math and Physics.  Attendees will understand the program and it’s key concepts, discuss how an LA could work in their classroom and discipline, and understand how COS is working to enable your students to conquer their MATH and Mason Core Science classes.

Keywords

STEM education; active learning; retention; peer teaching; pedagogy

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