Learning assistants program supports faculty

The Bill Moore Student Success Center, where the learning assistant program is located. The program is intended to help alleviate class work for professors. // Photo by Priya Rajeev Student Publications

The Division of Tutoring and Academic Support (TAS) will be expanding their new Learning Assistant Program in spring 2022 after a successful fall launch. Students are hired by TAS as Learning Assistants to support faculty who need more support in their courses. The Learning Assistant Landing webpage cites the transition from online learning to in-person as an opportunity for the program to flourish.

Learning Assistants give faculty more options when it comes to what will be available for students virtually or in person. Learning Assistants can work with students in smaller groups, act as a supporting guide during lectures and labs, and lead more interactive, peer-based discussion. They are able to share their guidance from taking the class previously.

The other responsibilities that Learning Assistants have include leading office hours, working with the faculty member who instructs the course on a weekly basis, and taking a 1 hour course hosted by the Center for Teaching and Learning. TAS offers three other resources for tutoring: 1-to-1 tutoring, Peer-Led Undergraduate Study (PLUS), and drop-in tutoring. 1-to-1 tutoring allows students to create appointments with student tutors. There is also drop-in tutoring, which does not require appointments. PLUS sessions are more collaborative, allowing students in specific courses to work together with the help of PLUS peer leaders. PLUS leaders have already taken the course and attend the classes that they are supporting in a given semester.

They do not help faculty with grading or leading recitations like TAs. Learning Assistants have responsibilities similar to both tutors and PLUS leaders. They help with grading, supporting students during class, and hosting 1-to-1 tutoring or office hours.

Their responsibilities do not interfere with teaching assistants, but rather supplement the support that professors and TAs are able to provide by using their recent experience taking the course to connect with students.

During the fall, Learning Assistants were used in nine courses, but the program is expanding to 14 courses in the spring.

Learning Assistants receive $11 per hour for their work and are typically required to work between 6 and 8 hours a week. If you want to apply to be a Learning Assistant, you can apply at tutoring.gatech.edu.