NDSU Learning Assistants
My name is Taylor Ensrude and I serve as a learning assistant here. Learning assistants are a really important part of these large introductory courses. Learning assistants are undergraduates who have taken the course in a previous year and come back and assist the professor the following year to help with peer tutoring, with peer learning, with answering questions in class. I will walk around the room and help students with activities. If they have questions, I can maybe clarify some things for them. I’ll walk around, make sure they’re doing things right and maybe lead them on the right track. So the kinds of things that I just described, where I have 80 to 100 students up at the board, working the problem at the same time, that only works because I have extra bodies in the classroom to kind of work with students and guide them towards getting their answers correct and highlighting the things we want to show them. An easy way to think about it would be, a tutor that’s in class. So during lecture we’re going around answering questions, helping students solve problems. We also do a lot of exam reviews, extra curricular stuff, help people outside of the classroom. Just make it easier for students to learn. The learning assistants are fantastic. They have a great experience. The students in the class really respond well to them. It’s a lot different experience for an undergraduate student, especially a freshman or sophomore, to have a junior or senior level student come up to them and ask them questions and help them. Well I’m a physics major and I really enjoy physics. My primary reason was because teaching people things is the best way to learn things, and as a student, I want to learn things. So, me doing this is a really good way to do that. Also, it’s just another excuse to help people.