Penn State provides students with several opportunities to work within the classroom and hone their teaching skills. In particular, the Statistics department allows students to apply to become Learning Assistants for STAT 200 and 250.
Learning Assistants (LAs) are peers that serve to facilitate collaborative active learning exercises both in lecture and lab. Learning Assistants work as a team with the faculty to help solidify student learning. Being an LA is a great way to develop the confidence and professional skills needed to be a teaching assistant or guided study group leader through Penn State Learning. The LA program in the Statistics Department is a part of a larger LA Initiative in Eberly College of Science.
LA positions are unpaid positions, but students do earn credit for their service. Students that serve as an LA earn SC-240 credit. Students should consult their academic advisor to understand how this credit can be applied to their degree requirements.
Who can be a Learning Assistant?
Learning Assistants are typically students that have already taken a course they want to be a Learning Assistant in and did very well (i.e., earned at least a B+ or better). Or they might be students with a high degree of interest in statistics or are majoring in statistics. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 is desirable. All of these students are eligible to apply.
Why might you consider being a Learning Assistant?
Great way to get to know the STAT 200 and 250 teaching team.
Valuable experience and responsibility to list on your resume.
Great way to deepen and reinforce your understanding of statistical concepts.
Develop leadership, teaching, and communication skills
Use as a first step to becoming an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
Have a lasting impact on students in STAT 200 or 250
What does a Learning Assistant do?
As a Learning Assistant, you will take 1 credit course (SC-220) about being an effective Learning Assistant and earn a second credit (SC-240) by facilitating active collaborative learning in and out of the formal classroom. Specifically, the roles of a Learning Assistant may include the following tasks:
Attend lectures or labs and facilitate active learning activities during these sessions.
Attend weekly meetings with the teaching team to review:
the topics that will be covered,
the concepts or methods to be emphasized, and
where students typically have problems.
Enroll in SC 220 and successfully complete the 1 credit pedagogy course SC-220 designed for LAs, (taken only by first-time Learning Assistants.)
Enroll in SC 240 and successfully work with introductory statistics students each week.
How are Learning Assistant's evaluated?
SC 240 Performance of Learning Assistant Duties part (1 credit)
Students are evaluated mid and at the end of the semester on the following criteria by instructors:
- Acts in a professional manner in all interactions with instructor and students in the course.
- Attends all sessions.
- Attends all instructional team meetings with the instructor and other Learning Assistants.
- Makes an effort to interact with students and guide them through the active learning exercises in a respectful manner.
- Makes an effort to improve their facilitation skills throughout the semester.
- Completes SC 240 Pedagogy course in good standing (if this is the first semester.)