“Being an LA is such a gratifying and eye-opening experience. In addition to all the techniques and tools you will learn in the pedagogy seminar, there are a lot of things you learn “on the job” from interacting with students. For me, these students have taught me just as much as I have taught them. ”
“All in all I will say that you are in for a truly rewarding experience. This program will teach you the fundamentals of learning, how we actually engrave things in our memory, and why a positive and energetic environment in which students actively participate is key to a successful education.”
“I have learned so much that has helped me not only improve my teaching skills, but also improve pertinent life skills such as public speaking and critical thinking…This program has also deeply strengthened my interests in a teaching career in the future.”
Learning Assistant Information
Benefits of the Learning Assistant (LA) Program
How Do LAs Benefit?
- LAs learn evidence-based teaching techniques in a weekly pedagogy seminar to help other students learn more effectively. LAs increase their course content knowledge, along with their communication and interpersonal skills.
- LAs receive upper-division 192 units for their work in the program and can receive this credit up to 4 times. This counts towards your UCLA upper-division GPA and upper-division unit requirement.
- Returning LAs are able to apply for Logistical Head LA positions (a paid position) as well as Pedagogy Head LA Positions.
How Do Students Benefit?
- In LA-supported courses, students get extra help in lecture and discussion, extremely fast responses to questions posted on the discussion forum, and additional office hours each week. LAs also help students engage in discussion to increase student critical reasoning and facilitate student group collaboration. Moreover, the LAs are often seen as more accessible and approachable.
- A recent PLOS article found that peer-led team learning (i.e. having peers facilitate group problem-solving in a manner similar to that of LAs) helps under-represented minority students succeed in STEM classes.
To learn more about how the LA program has been benefiting the LAs and students on the UCLA campus, refer to this summary of the LA program’s progress.
What do we ask of Learning Assistants?
What do we ask of LAs?
The program consists of the following weekly commitments:
- 1 credit pedagogy seminar co-taught by Dr. Shaked, Dr. Tienson-Tseng, and/or other STEM faculty (1 hour seminar + 2 hr/wk reading and time to write weekly reflections and work on course projects)
- 1-2 hours weekly meeting with instructor(s) and TAs to go over content and likely misconceptions for following week
- 2-6 hours of the following: attend lecture, lab and/or discussion sections to foster collaborative learning
- 1-3 office hours with TAs
- 1-2 hours of other tasks (e.g. looking ahead at lectures or homework; responding to questions on discussion board)
New LAs are asked to commit at least 9 hr/wk (for 3 units) and ideally 12 hr/wk (for 4 units).
In the pedagogy seminar, we will go over the theory of learning and strategies that will help increase student learning. This includes weekly readings, reflections, and projects that LAs spend an average of 2 hr/wk on. The seminar includes LAs from across the sciences, math and computer science.
Here is a detailed table of weekly expectations for each type of LA.
For more information, check out the Pedagogy Seminar Syllabus.
How to Apply
Interested in being an LA?
See the buttons at the top for the current state of applications.
Please note that all new LAs must be able to attend the Pedagogy Seminar on Tuesdays from 4-5pm (mandatory requirement for all new LAs)
As a campus with a continually growing diverse student body, we encourage applications from individuals with a commitment to mentoring under-represented demographics in the sciences.
General application timeline (varies by quarter)
*Please note that this old timeline is for your reference. Fall 2018 will follow a different timeline due to the summer break.
General LA Program Application Timeline
|Weeks before quarter||Head LA Applicants||New + Returning LA Applicants|
|6 weeks (e.g. Wk 5 of preceding quarter)||Applications open|
|4-5 weeks (e.g. Wk 7)||Logistical Head LAs selected|
|2-3 weeks (e.g. Wk 10)||Head LA Orientation||LA acceptances sent out|
|Wk 10 Tues. 4:30-5:30pm||New LA Orientation for following quarter|
Interested in other Education-Related Opportunities, at UCLA and Beyond?
Click here to see a list of on- and off-campus opportunities, for credit and paid, while a student and for recent grads!