University of Central Florida: Early Teaching Experience
- Our Learning Assistant Program expanded in both the number of LAs and the courses using LAs. We continue to have eight LAs working in our 8 studio physics courses, with additional LAs working in the combined recitation/lecture "mini-studios" as well as upper-level courses such as Quantum Mechanics and Thermal and Statistical Physics.
- Returning LAs developed and implemented lessons for a local high school physics class.
- We re-opened the Physics Help Room to give LAs opportunities to work with students from a variety of courses.
- The schools we have had the most success interacting with are about an hour commute, making it difficult for students to visit during the semester.
- There is not much incentive for students to enroll in the existing courses that require early field experience.
- Some students who were interested in participating in the LA Program were encouraged not to by faculty with whom they were doing undergraduate research.
- The University and the Physics Department has committed to support the Learning Assistant Program for three years beyond the PhysTEC funding period.
- The returning LAs' interaction with the local high school was well received by the LAs, the teacher and the school's administration. We plan to continue and scale this opportunity.
- The Director of the Learning Assistant Program needs to follow up with faculty using LAs to make sure the LA is getting a good experience. We plan to start requiring a written agreement of how the LA will be used and agreed upon procedures for reporting on the LAs' performance.
- Different students became interested in the LA Program once it was expanded to upper-level courses, increasing our pool of potential teachers.
- We need to make sure students will not suffer negative consequences for participating in the LA Program.
- Twenty-five unique students participated as LAs in Year 1, with five participating in both semesters.
- The five returning LAs worked in teams to develop and implement two lessons at a local high school.
- Physics students presented demonstrations at the Physics Career Exploration Day.