Learning Assistants at UM-Missoula

The Learning Assistant Program is still accepting applications to most of the courses listed below, please check back throughout the summer as more courses will be added.

Learning Assistant Poster Showcase

Each semester, all of the Learning Assistants across campus put together a poster which illustrates their successes during the semester.  Since we were unable to gather this semester, the LAs recorded their presentantions. You can view the LAs posters and presentations here.

Sponsored by UM’s Learning Assistant program and the Provost's Teaching Excellence Initiative

What is the Learning Assistant Model?

The Learning Assistant Model pairs high-performing students, called Learning Assistants (LAs), with faculty focused on transforming their courses into engaging, active learning based courses. Based on University of Colorado-Boulder’s Learning Assistant Model the program focuses on three pillars: practice, content, and pedagogy.

Practice

LAs encourage/support discourse as small groups of students work weekly on collaborative group tasks.

Pedagogy

First time LAs participate in a weekly education seminar led by STEM teacher/faculty mentors.

Content

LAs engage in weekly planning sessions with mentor faculty member of course serving as an LA.

Who are Learning Assistants?

LAs are high-performing students who successfully complete a course and then return to the class as a volunteer.  The LA promotes learning by facilitating discussions, asking thoughtful questions, addressing misconceptions, and fostering a collaborative environment in the classroom. LAs help transform courses into an active-learning environment where students, LAs, and faculty all work together to understand core concepts on a deeper level. Since LAs recently worked through course material, they are better able to identify common struggles and how students work through them.  LAs are not responsible for teaching the material or grading and are looked at as a peer rather than an authoritative figure. 

comparison of top dowm teaching model and la collaborative model

How do LAs Benefit?

Learning Assistants create and foster relationships with faculty members on campus, practice and learn key interpersonal skills, and gain a better understanding of the content. The LA experience is an excellent opportunity to set yourself a part from other individuals when applying for scholarships, jobs, or graduate school.

 

What do we ask of LAs?

  1. All LAs take a 1-3 credit pedagogy seminar on Tuesdays at 4-4:50 PM, answer weekly reflection questions, and complete 2 projects (LA Feedback Survey and Poster presentation).
  2. Some duties related to being an LA could include:
    1. Meeting with faculty mentors on a regular basis to discuss content and help design course activities or questions that encourage discussion.
    2. Attending regularly scheduled labs or lectures per mentor’s schedule.
    3. Hosting office hours or running review sessions
    4. Looking at lectures or responding to students questions on Moodle

NPR story detailing CU-Boulder’s LA program and its benefits.

How to become a LA?

The Fall 2020 Learning Assistant Application will be available on Monday, April 6th

History of our Learning Assistant Program?

The Learning Assistant Program started at the University of Montana in 2011 thanks to a National Science Foundation Noyce Grant DUE 1136412.  Originally, the Learning Assistant Program was limited to mathematics and science majors who chose to become teachers, but in the fall of 2017, the program was expanded to include high-performing students interested in helping facilitate active learning environments in all courses. 

Courses Interested in LAs for Fall 2020

The following courses are interested in recruiting Learning Assistants 

Course  Instructor Course Meeting times Number of Openings
ASTR 131 Mark Reiser TR 11-12:20 1
BIOB 260

Mark Grimes

Scott Samuels

MWF 9-9:50

Recitations TR 9-9:50 4-4:50

CHMY 121 Brooke Martin MWF 2-2:50 PM  6
CHMY 121 Recitations T  2 PM, 3PM, 4 PM
CHMY 123 Brooke Martin MWF 9-9:50 AM  6
CHMY 123 Recitations M 10-10:50, 1-1:50
EDU 397 Bonnie Spence 1
GBLD 194-01 Peter McDonough MWF 11-11:50 AM 1 (Filled)
HONR 120 Timothy Nichols

T 8:30-9:45 AM

W 3:30-4:45 PM

10
HONR 121 5 Sections

TR 9:30-10:50 AM

TR 11-12:30 AM

TR 12:30-1:50 PM

TR 2-3:20 PM

5
M 105-01 Lauren Fern MWF 9-9:50 AM 4
M 115 Recitation Lauren Fern R Every hour 8 AM- 3PM 5
M 121 7 Sections

MWF 9-9:50

MWF 10-10:50

MWF 11-11:50

MWF 12-12:50

MWF 1-150

7
M 121 Richard Darnell 1
M 122-02 Regina Souza MWF 1-1:50 1
M 151-01 Regina Souza MTWF 10-10:50 1
M 151-02 Regina Souza MTWF 11-11:50 1
M 231 Richard Darnell 1
PHIL 210 Melodie Velasco Stenger TR 12:30-1:50 1
PHSX 205-02 Alexander Bulmahn MTWR 9-9:50 5
PHSX 215-01 David Macaluso MTWR 1-1:50 5
WILD 180 Chad Bishop 5
WILD 370 Victoria Dreitz

T R 11-12:20

Lab T 1-4:50 PM

1

Contact Information

Josh Herring, Learning Assistant Coordinator and Learning Assistant Instructor

Email: Joshua.Herring@UMontana.edu