Sacramento State’s Learning Assistant (LA) program is based on University of Colorado-Boulder’s internationally renowned program. Our goal is to turn STEM students on to the excitement of teaching, which will increase the desperately short supply of highly qualified K-12 science teachers. The learning assistant role is to facilitate discussion, helping to transform the instructor-centered environment typical of large-enrollment classes into a more interactive, collaborative, and engaging one. LAs receive training directly from the class instructor, and also participate in a weekly pedagogy course.
In Sring 2016 the program will likely include biology (BIO 1 and BIO 2), and physics (PHYS 11A, and PHYS 11C) courses. Students interested in working in high school classrooms are also welcome to apply and may earn upper division units.
The mandatory pedagogy course will meet on Fridays from 12pm to 1pm. Your instructor will also schedule a separate 1 hour meeting to discuss issues specific to the class you are working on.
You can check out this presentation to learn a little more about our program. If you have questions please contact one of the professors.
The LA program ran at Sacramento State for the first time in Fall 2011. Five LAs worked with about 80 students enrolled in an Introduction to Astrobiology (ASTR 4C) class. Students and LAs worked collaboratively on projects that were presented during our end of semester celebration.
The program was a smashing success and both LAs and students loved the experience! Here are the LA answers as to whether they would like to repeat the experience:
The entire Fall 2011 experience is documented in detail (with pictures and links to the projects) here: http://webpages.csus.edu/~vemargon/LA/
In Spring 2012 we expanded the program to two classes: Physics in Our World (PHYS 10) and Introduction to Astronomy (ASTR 4B). Funds from the CSU Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI, http://www.calstate.edu/teachered/msti) were used to help support 8 LAs.
In Fall 2012, Spring 2013, and Fall 2013 the program was expanded to include biology students who wanted to explore a career in K-12 STEM teaching. LA programs ran in PHYS 11A and BIO 2 (Cells, Molecules, Genes).
In Spring 2014 the program expanded once again to include BIO 1 and GEOG 1. This expansion was partially due to a Promising Course Redesign grant from the Chancellor's Office. An e-portfolio documenting the experience is currently under development and we welcome your feedback on it.