Learning Assistants in Introductory Statistics Courses
Who can be a Learning Assistant?
Learning Assistants are typically students that have already taken a course they want to be an Learning Assistant in and did very well, (i.e., earned at least a B+ or better). Or, they might be students with a high degree of interest in statistics, did well on the STAT AP exam or are a statistics major. All of these students are eligible to apply.
Why might you consider being a Learning Assistant?
- Great way to get to know the instructors.
- Valuable experience and responsibility to list on your resume.
- Opportunity to ask an instructor to write an informed letter of recommendation.
- Great way to deepen your own understanding of statistical concepts.
- Great way to help students and practice your communication of statistical concepts to others.
- Use as a first step to becoming a Guided Study Group Leader with Penn State Learning.
What does a Learning Assistant do?
As a Learning Assistant you will take 1 credit course about being an effective Learning Assistant and also earn a second credit by spending from 5-7 hours per week facilitating active collaborative learning in and out of the formal classroom setting. Specifically, the roles of a Learning Assistant may include the following tasks.
- Attend the lectures and labs and facilitate in the active learning activities during these class sessions.
- Attend weekly meetings with the course instructor to review:
- the topics that will be covered,
- the concepts or methods to be emphasized, and
- where students typically have problems.
- Enroll in SC 220 and successfully complete the 1 credit pedagogy course SC240 designed for LAs, (taken only by first time Learning Assistants.)
- Enroll in SC 220 and successfully work with introductory statistics students 5-7 hours per week.
How are Learning Assistant's evaluated?
A Learning Assistant is evaluated differently for the two components of their experience.
SC 220 Pedagogy course part (1 credit)
- Attendance and participation in SC 220 class activities (40%).
- Satisfactory complete of all course reflection assignments (50%)
- Final Reflection paper (10%).
SC 240 Performance of Learning Assistant Duties part (1 credit)
Students are evaluated mid and at the end of semester on the following criteria by instructors:
- Acts in a professional manner in all interactions with instructor and students in the course.
- Attends all class and lab sessions.
- Attends all instructional team meetings with the instructor and other Learning Assistants.
- Makes an effort to interact with students and guide them through the active learning exercises in a respectful manner.
- Makes an effort to improve their facilitation skills throughout the semester.
- Completes SC 240 Pedagogy course in good standing (if this is the first semester.)
In addition, feedback is also collected from the students in the course.