How can I become a Learning Assistant?
It’s a good idea to talk to current or former LAs to hear about the experience and decide if it’s a good fit for you right now. If you decide it is, you’ll apply using a Google form. You can indicate up to three courses in which you would be willing to act as an LA, and you’ll be asked when you took the course, who your instructor was, and what grade you earned. We ask you to write a paragraph explaining why you want to be an LA and how you do or will contribute to the equity and inclusiveness of the Vanderbilt undergraduate learning experience, which is a primary focus of the LA program.
The next step in the process is an interview. We’ll send the invitations via email and let you know how to sign up for a time slot for the interview. (If you don’t get interviewed the first time you apply, don’t worry! We typically have many more applicants that we can interview, and we’re happy to talk to you about your application.) Interviews are 15 minutes each, and involve two faculty members. The interviewers use a standard set of questions and a rubric to help ensure that they gain the type of information they need from each applicant.
What is the time commitment for being a Learning Assistant?
As an LA, you will work eight hours per week, plus take the Pedagogy Seminar. The eight hours involve the time in class (3 hours), the prep meeting (1-1.5 hour), and time spent reviewing course content and preparing for your work as a LA (3.5-4 hours).
In what kinds of classes will I find Learning Assistants?
For more information about the kinds of classes that utilize Learning Assistants, see Courses Using LAs.
How do Learning Assistants support me in my classes?
LAs facilitate the types of active learning exercises that your instructor decides are a good fit for your course. You may work with your LA and a group of peers to discuss and solve problems, analyze data, or figure out how to put different ideas into a bigger picture understanding. LAs aren’t involved in assessment in any way; they don’t grade or help prepare tests, quizzes, or other assignments. They can, however, help you and your instructor think about different ways to consider concepts that are challenging, and they can act as a sounding board as you’re developing your own questions and understandings.