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Texas State Learning Assistant Program


The Physics Department at Texas State University has had a Learning Assistant (LA) program since 2012. LAs are supported with funding from the National Science Foundation, PhysTEC, and the Halliburton Foundation, as well as from the physics department, the College of Science and Engineering, and the Office of the Provost.

The NSF STEM Rising Stars project at Texas State University includes funds for expanding interactive instruction with support from Learning Assistants (LAs).  STEM Faculty can apply for LA support - see Faculty Information for details

What is a Learning Assistant Program?

A Learning Assistant program supports Learning Assistants, faculty, and students by transforming courses so that they are more closely aligned with research-based instructional strategies.

Who are Learning Assistants?

Learning Assistants are undergraduate students who, through the guidance of weekly preparation sessions and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage active engagement.

What are the goals of an LA Program?

Every LA Program incorporates four major goals of varying emphasis: curriculum & course transformation, discipline-based education research, institutional change, and K-12 teacher recruitment and preparation.

  • Curriculum and course transformation
    • The LA Model supports course transformation by facilitating active student learning.
  • Discipline-based education research
    • The LA Model introduces and supports conversations between STEM faculty about discipline-specific education research and its role in creating effective learning spaces.
  • Institutional change
    • The LA model acts as a change agent in faculty, departments, and institutional practices by providing infrastructure to support and reward instructional innovation.
  • Teacher recruitment and preparation
    • The LA model is an effective method of recruitment and preparation for future K-12 teachers. It can both provide exposure and generate interest for undergraduates who had never thought of teaching as a career before, and help those who are on the fence decide if teaching is right for them. In addition, the LA program emphasizes best practices in STEM instruction, and provides diverse student support which are helpful for students at any level.

Learning Assistant Supported Courses

These Texas State University courses have used or are using Learning Assistants.

Physics Department

PHYS 1325 - General Physics I

PHYS 1324 - General Physics II

PHYS 1430 - Introductory Mechanics

PHYS 2425 - Introductory Electricity & Magnetism

PHYS 2435 - Introductory Waves & Heat

PHYS 3311 - Mechanics I

PHYS 3312 - Modern Physics

PHYS 4312 - Quantum Mechanics

Computer Science Department

CS 1428 - Foundations of CS 1

Honors College

HON 3480C - Teaching Physics Science to Children

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department

CHEM 2341 - Organic Chemistry I

CHEM 2342 - Organic Chemistry II