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Educational Innovations and Emerging Technologies
Frequency: Quarterly Published by lIKll

Open Access Research Paper
 EIET 2022/03
Vol.2, Iss.1 : 33-55

Context Matters: Influence of Undergraduates’ Approaches, Experiences, and Expectations on the LA Model in Large Enrollment Science Courses

Meredith Thompson1*, Anthony Barrasso2, M. Shane Tutwiler3, Peter Garik4 and Katheryn Spilios4

1Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
2Bridgewater State University, USA
3University of Rhode Island, USA
4Boston University, USA

Received:N/A; Revised:N/A; Accepted:N/A; Published:March 30, 2022
The Learning Assistant (LA) model was designed to facilitate the innovative use of active learning in large lecture courses by training and integrating undergraduate near-peer instructors called Learning Assistants (LAs). We analyze the LA model in the context of the course learning activities, their influence on student outcomes, and students’ expectations for the course. We used results from a large-scale survey to model expectations, course activities, and outputs in the form of course satisfaction and final grades, and drew from interviews, classroom observations, and student focus groups to make sense of the model results. Quantitative results revealed a small positive effect of LAs on final grade when only LAs were input into the statistical model. However, when the influence of students’ perceptions of their professor, their teaching fellow (TF), and their own study habits were included, the effect of LAs was mitigated. Qualitative results showed that while undergraduates reported that they felt more comfortable asking LAs questions about course material, many still focused on grades over conceptual understanding. LAs championed small group work more than their teaching partners, but the effectiveness of the LAs to encourage group work was linked to the TF’s approach to teaching. Results suggest that the expectations of the students, teaching staff, and the course activities and assessments can impact the effectiveness of the LA model.

Keywords:  Undergraduate students, Introductory biology, Introductory chemistry, Introductory physics, Required courses, Peer teaching, group work, Course transformation

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Citation:Thompson, M., & Barrasso, A., & Shane, M., & Garik, P., & Spilios, K.(2022). Context Matters: Influence of Undergraduates’ Approaches, Experiences, and Expectations on the LA Model in Large Enrollment Science Courses. Educational Innovations and Emerging Technologies, 2(1), 33-55.

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Copyright: © 2022  The Author(s). Published with license by IIKII, Singapore. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.