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Learning Assistant (LA) - National Science Foundation (NSF) Research

What are LAs?

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. 

About the LA Model

As the Learning Assistant model has grown and new LA programs have been started all over the world, it has become clear that consistent, informative definitions of what makes up a Learning Assistant program were needed. These are called General Program Elements (GPEs). 

LA Application and Expectations

Expectations and Responsibilities

Being an LA is a craft that requires skill, preparation, and practice. In addition to being prepared, open-minded, and excited to work with students, LAs have a number of other responsibilities and expectations. You will find below a description of these roles and responsibilities. Being an LAs is rewarding, but it requires time and commitment. Make sure you understand what is expected of you.

LAs are responsible for:

  1. Maintaining a sense of professionalism. This includes: being on time for class and related meetings, adhering to a casual yet professional dress code, and remaining engaged with students throughout class.
  2. Preparing individually for next class and going over the content (1-hour a week)
  3. Participating in planning meetings (1 hour a week) with the lead professor and the other LAs. This meeting will prepare everyone for class.
  4. Completing successfully the LA Seminar, (2 hours) with an A in their first semester of LA work.
  5. Promoting a safe learning environment where students feel accepted and included in class.

LA Applications

You can apply to work as an LA for any semester, Fall and/or Spring. During the summer semester, the LA Seminar course is not offered, therefore, only Returning LAs are eligible to work. 

Make sure to have the following ready:

  • Be sure that you will have at least 7 hours of available time for your work as an LA
  • You must be enrolled in at least 6 credits the semester you’ll be an LA for.
  • You must not have more than 20 hours a week of student employment, including your LA work
  • If you are an international student, you must have an SSN before you can be employed as an LA. Please contact the program director for assistance and email the LA program for a letter of intention to hire.

New and Returning LA Application

If you wish to work as an LA,  complete the following application on UW-Parkside’s Handshake platform. This application is for both students that have never worked as an LA before and students that have worked as an LA before. 

Applications are now being considered for work as an LA in Spring & Fall 2024-2025

Learning Assistants (LAs) Position Description


NSF Award # 2246005: CNS - Collaborative Research: CUE-T: Broadening Participation in Computing via Active Learning Strategies in Multi-Institution Online Synchronous Learning Environments


This project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), explores the impact of integrating inclusive and equitable learning and engagement strategies (IE-LESs) in computing online synchronous learning environments (OSLEs) and sharing resources across multiple institutions on students' learning outcomes, engagement, and retention.

We hypothesize that integrating IE-LESs into computing OSLEs, sharing resources across multiple institutions, and using the technology effectively will improve student achievement of learning outcomes and increase retention rates compared to other learning environments, specifically face-to-face and asynchronous online environments. We expect this transformation to provide a pathway to broaden the participation of underrepresented students in computing courses at the collaborating institutions on this project.

The research will employ a mixed-methods experimental design involving the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data from Learning Assistants (LAs) participating in the project. The project's interdisciplinary PI team comprises experts in assessment, evaluation, learning methods and technologies, CS education, and computing. An external evaluator and advisory board will help guide the project's progress. Since the project focuses on computing education research, there are no risks to the participants. The benefits include improved learning outcomes and retention rates when using IE-LESs in OSLEs.

As an LA on the project, you will be required to:

  • Participate in LA professional development by taking an online course in the first semester you work on the project
  • Participate in follow-up professional development sessions after the first semester
  • Perform LA duties in both in-person, online, and online live classes
  • Assist in collecting research data for the classes in which you are an LA

You may also be required to:

  • Develop software tools to support work on the project
  • Maintain a website related to the project


If you choose to participate, you will be asked to perform the following to evaluate the professional development undertaken by the LAs enrolled in the program. (a) Complete a survey, and (b) participate in a recorded interview or a focus group, to determine the impact of professional development.


You will be hired on the project as a paid LA at a rate similar to LAs in other UWP courses (rate of $16 per hour).


We will provide you with a consent form and invite you to participate in the study by checking the “Consent to Participate” box you are agreeing to participate in the study.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Vijayalakshmi (Viji) Ramasamy ( or Prof. Anthony Aiello (


Reference: UW-Parkside Receives NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Computing in Undergraduate Education – Transformation Grant (