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Abstract Title: Exploring Experiences, Benefits, Challenges, and Dynamics in a Developing Learning Assistant Program
Abstract: San Francisco State University (SFSU), a large Hispanic-serving institution, launched a Learning Assistant (LA) program in Spring 2017, including introductory physics, astronomy, and chemistry courses, with plans to expand to math and computer science. Like many LA programs, we aim to transform large, traditionally lecture-based introductory STEM courses to a more active and inclusive learning environment through the addition of undergraduate facilitators working in concert with course instructors. At SFSU, LAs receive upper-division elective credits to participate in a weekly pedagogy course with targeted readings, discussions, and reflection essays on teaching practices, plus a weekly prep session with their mentor (the course instructor), where they discuss specific activities to be implemented in the classroom. Several studies have shown content and affective gains for students in courses with LAs and for LAs. As our LA program has grown to include more courses, instructors, and LAs, we have been collecting interviews with LAs and faculty as well as reflection essays from the pedagogy course to gain insight regarding implementation challenges and benefits, dynamics between faculty, LAs, and students, and the general experience of the LAs and their faculty mentors. We have iteratively coded responses to interview questions and essays and tallied frequency counts of emergent themes. These results will give insight into the effects of the LA program being implemented for the first time at San Francisco State University. Results will inform the continuation and expansion of the LA program in the College of Science and Engineering.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session 1 Room B
Poster Number: 1B-15

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jomar Lopes
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA 94132
Phone: 707-718-2604
and Co-Presenter(s)
Jomar Lopes, Jake Campuspos, Nicole Kolak, Kim Coble; Department of Physics and Astronomy, San Francisco State University