For LA Faculty

How can working with LAs transform your course?

LAs can…

  • Make a large class feel more like a small class.
  • Form relationships with groups of students, learn their names, keep track of whether they are in class, and even get in touch with them if they miss class.
  • Make it possible for students to get more practice and feedback both in and out of class.
  • Explain concepts to students from another perspective (like, using the student’s major).
  • Make it easier and more comfortable for students to ask “elementary” questions.
  • Check work, including in-class work, for completion (but they cannot grade).
  • Review students’ work, give feedback to students, and tell you what they noticed about students’ learning.
  • Help you create more opportunities for students to talk and write about their thinking.
  • Monitor and report students’ progress toward the learning goals of the course.
  • Test drive activities, clicker questions, quiz questions, exams, etc.
  • Bridge the gap between novices and experts by giving you information about what students do and do not understand, and helping you make your instructions and expectations more transparent.
  • Give you feedback from the students’ perspective, including on classroom climate (e.g., whether students feel that the class is welcoming, accessible, equitable).
  • Respond to questions about instructions, due dates, test dates, and other logistics.
  • Hold office hours and/or review sessions.

LAs cannot…

  • Grade (but they can check work for completion and/or give feedback).
  • Teach. LAs are Learning Assistants and not Teaching Assistants. They should not deliver content or tell students the answers to questions or problems. Instead, they should help to facilitate students’ learning and help them reason through answering questions and solving problems.
  • Enforce course policies or respond to grade or attendance disputes, but they can communicate to you if they notice instances of cheating, students in distress, etc.
  • Administer exams. They can help proctor, but there must be an instructor or TA in the room.