Presentation by Valerie Otero, University of Colorado Boulder


Thursday, December 6, 2018 - 11:30am to 1:30pm


Facility for Rare Isotopes (FRIB) Auditorium and Lobby Michigan State University

This presentation is part of the STEM Education Alliance's series, "The Role of Undergraduate Learning Assistants in STEM Teaching and Learning." For more information and to register, click here. 

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

Abstract: The learning assistant model began at CU Boulder in 2001 with 4 LAs to support one section of Introductory Astronomy. Since then, the program has grown throughout campus, with 100+ faculty members each year working with 410 LAs in 14 departments in 4 colleges and schools, impacting approximately 20,000 students annually. The International Learning Assistant Alliance has emerged as a group of 1000+ faculty, administrators, and professional society representatives throughout the world, concerned about improving educational conditions for a diverse student population through the use of LAs. I will discuss the history of the LA program and how it has grown and been sustained. In addition to the funding history, I will present data that indicates some of the diverse outcomes that the program has on student success. Finally, I will discuss the tools that are available through the LA Alliance, including the LA Campus management and longitudinal data system, the Learning About STEM Stud ent Outcomes (LASSO) automated assessment system, and resources such as videos, manuals, pedagogy course materials, and ways to use LAs.

Bio: Valerie Otero is professor of science education. 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, the nature of science, and physics for prospective elementary teachers.
Valerie earned her Ph.D. in Physics Education at University of California, San Diego & San Diego State Universities

(Boxed lunches provided. Poster session will immediately follow presentation)