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The Learning Assistant Recruitment and Preparation Program at Colorado Documents

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The Learning Assistant Recruitment and Preparation Program at Colorado  

written by Noah D. Finkelstein

The University of Colorado Learning Assistant model ( and uses the transformation of large-enrollment science courses as a mechanism for achieving four goals: (1) to recruit and prepare talented science majors for careers in teaching, (2) to improve the quality of math and science education for all undergraduates, (3) to engage math and science faculty in the recruitment and preparation of future teachers and to engage education faculty in the transformation of undergraduate courses, and (4) to transform the culture in university math and science departments to value research-based teaching as a legitimate endeavor for ourselves and for our students. We report on the successes and challenges of last five years of this program in the physics department.  Results include: (i) a roughly doubling of the national average learning gains in our transformed classes, (ii) improved recruitment (by more than a factor of 3) and preparation of the next generation of future physics teachers, (iii) a dramatic increase in the number of involved physics faculty (by a factor of four or more), and (iv) institutional commitment to these efforts.

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Published October 10, 2008
Last Modified November 6, 2008

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