Learning Assistant Workshop at Chicago State University/Harold Washington College, March 24-25, 2017

1. Jim Rabchuk and Susan Brooks from WIU QC attended.
2. We prepared a poster on our proposed 3 year pilot project.
3. We engaged in discussions on the three aspects of the LA model: Learning Assistants in the classroom, the Pedagogy class, and the Weekly Preparation session with the faculty.
4. In addition, we heard various presentations on unique features of various programs, with a special emphasis on how TYC (two year colleges) and FYI (four year institutions) could work together.
5. We had question and answer sessions with learning assistants from CSU, HWC, and Cleveland State University
6. Plus we had time for information sharing with other participants.

Things we learned, connections we made, and ideas we had at the workshop:
1. We decided that for the pilot we would have a joint weekly preparation session with the two faculty members and the 4 LA’s, to help coordinate course preparation, and to see how students in the Engineering program were doing across several courses. We identified several goals for those prep sessions
a. Review of past week successes and failures
b. Identify needs for class review and for intervention with particular students
c. Consider different pedagogical approaches
d. Model and role play healthy learning dynamics
e. Review of content for LA’s.
2. We had a lot of positive feedback on our pilot proposal, especially the fact that we were controlling for the variables by having just two instructors involved initially.
3. The flip side to the benefit of starting small is that our data sizes will be small, so we’ll have to be wise in how we collect data and demonstrate effectiveness of the intervention.
4. We learned from the LA’s that they are able to help work with students on content, study skills, and discussing life-challenges.
5. Susie was able to connect with several faculty from other institutions who are using the LA model in Calculus classes.
6. Several institutions that are already using LA’s suggested having current or former HS teachers lead or at least participate in the Pedagogy class.
7. We had an idea that, in addition to exploring how this project might expand to the Macomb campus, we might be able to work together with Black Hawk in supplying LA’s to them for their Physics and Calculus classes from some of their graduates who continued on in the Engineering program.

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