Create your own conference schedule! Click here for full instructions

Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Davis, E. Christine [1], Harmon, Alice [2].

Transforming a large lecture class: Learning Assistant Program in Biology at the University of Florida.

The Learning Assistant (LA) Program was established at the University of Colorado, Boulder and shown to be effective in improving learning gains of all students. It has been adopted by some 70 universities and colleges that belong to the LA Alliance - The Department of Biology at the University of Florida began a pilot of the LA program in summer, 2015 and conducted a controlled trial in fall 2015. LAs worked with students (ratio ~1:25) in the second semester of the course Integrated Principles of Biology. LAs led 50-60-minute group active learning exercises approximately once per week. These LA-led activities presented new material and replaced passive, lecture-based lessons. Learning gains were measured using pre and post tests, and students were asked to complete a course survey to gather demographic information and student opinions. Preliminary data suggested that students achieved significantly greater learning gains in the LA-led pilot semester (160 students) compared to the baseline semester, and that such gains were most marked in underrepresented minority and first generation students. In controlled trials conducted in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 (1648 students), underrepresented minority and first generation students continued to perform significantly better in the LA treatment group compared to the unassisted control. The strongest student success on exams was observed in LA treatment groups with instructors teaching with LAs for the second or third time, which highlights the importance of continued development, experience, and training to achieve maximum success with the LA program. Contrary to our expectations, learning gains were lower in the LA treatment groups compared to the control in the 2015-2016 trial, which may be explained by inadequacies in the assessment. Our results support the use of the LA program to reduce achievement gaps and retain underrepresented students in STEM disciplines.

Log in to add this item to your schedule

1 - University Of Florida, Department Of Biology, Bartram-Carr Hall, P.O Box 118525, Gainesville, FL, 32611, USA
2 - University of Florida, Biology, P.O. Box 118525, Gainesville, Fl, 32611, USA

active learning
learning assistants.

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P, Recent Topics Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT024
Abstract ID:1217
Candidate for Awards:None

Copyright © 2000-2016, Botanical Society of America. All rights reserved