The Learning Assistant Model as a Catalyst for Institutional Change and Instructional Improvement


214 MLC

Presenter: Valerie Otero

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Event Type: New Faculty Workshops, Pedagogy & Practice Workshops, Speaker Series, TA Services and Programs

Learning Assistants are undergraduate students who, through the guidance of course instructors and a pedagogy course, facilitate discussions among groups of students in a variety of classroom settings that encourage group interaction.  In this presentation, co-sponsored by the Office of STEM Education, Dr. Otero will discuss the LA model from four vantage points: the classroom, the department, the institution, and the nation. Tools for supporting faculty and programs will be presented and data to support claims about the effectiveness of the model for student learning and persistence will also be discussed. 

Bio:  Valerie Otero is professor of science education and co-director of the Learning Assistant Program at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Otero’s research explores the dynamic nature of the learning environment and how it influences (and is influenced by) the evolution of students’ ideas. She also studies prospective and practicing teachers’ conceptions of students’ prior knowledge, and teachers’ conceptions of the use of students’ prior knowledge for teaching and learning. Her teaching interests are in the areas of elementary science methods and the nature of science.  Dr. Otero is a member of several professional organizations such as the American Association of Physics Teachers, National Science Teachers Association, National Association of Research on Science Teaching, and the American Educational Research Association.