Learning Assistants

About the LA Program

The Learning Assistants (LA) Program in the Sciences at UCLA is an evidence-based, multidisciplinary instructional strategy, in which students who have succeeded in a given course receive credit for working with faculty to learn how to help the next group of students succeed in that course. It is specifically geared toward large introductory science, engineering and math courses.  All new LAs attend a pedagogy course to learn about best practices in fostering student-centered and collaborative learning, and they simultaneously practice, reflect on, and improve these skills in the content course they are assigned. Undergraduate students who serve as LAs thus help facilitate active learning and collaborative instruction in class and outside of lecture during office hours and discussion/lab sections.

The program aims to strengthen a few key aspects of UCLA courses:

  1. Increase the success and skills of the LAs themselves, as they refine content knowledge, while gaining new communication skills and a sense of community.
  2. Enhance the ability of faculty to effectively scale active learning, collaborative learning, and other interactive activities to more effectively teach a large and diverse student body.
  3. Increase he level of student satisfaction and belonging in these courses, and for the LAs themselves.
  4. Foster more application and interdisciplinary connections being made by instructors and TAs, since LAs are often more aware of student interests than the faculty and TAs teaching the courses..

For a detailed explanation of LA and instructor responsibilities, please refer to the buttons on the top of the page.

Here is a Nov. 2017 slideshow about the program:

Funding

The LA program is supported by the Deans of UCLA’s Physical and Life Sciences, UCLA’s Office of Instructional Development and UCOP.

Contact

Shanna Shaked

Senior Associate Director of CEILS for Physical Sciences Initiatives
Lecturer, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Email: shaked@physics.ucla.edu
Office Location: Young Hall 3077D


Other program coordinators:

Gaston Pfleugl, Life Sciences Core

Heather Tienson, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Website developed in collaboration with LAs Yiwei Sun, Emily Duong, and Sara D’souza.

The LA Program in the Sciences was established in Winter 2016 by Drs. Nadia Sellami (Life Sciences) and Shanna Shaked (Physical Sciences).