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Active Learning Assistant Program

The Active Learning Assistant program supports Active Learning Assistants (ALAs), faculty, and students by helping faculty create engaging, collaborative, and student-centered learning environments. ALAs are undergraduate students who meet with faculty members for weekly preparation sessions to promote active learning in their courses. These preparation sessions provide valuable feedback for faculty, allowing the ALA and the instructor to bounce ideas back and forth as they prepare for the next week. 

Learning Assistants write weekly teaching reflections to examine how education research plays out in their interactions with students. Overall, the ALA program works to align courses with discipline-based education research, supporting and rewarding those faculty who aim for instructional innovation. The ALA program provides the infrastructure to make that innovation happen. ALAs also attend workshops to learn about teaching, facilitation techniques, and active learning strategies. The workshops teach Learning Assistants about "best practices" in education, including but not limited to: 

  • helping students become active and engaged in the course
  • listening and questioning
  • building relationships with students and faculty
  • integrating theory with practice

ALAs could support faculty in any format: online, blended, or in-person courses. Recommended ratios are:

  • 1 ALA for every 40-50 students in a large lecture course
  • 1 ALA for every 20-25 students in a larger, flipped course
  • 1 ALA for every 15-30 students in a smaller course


Spring 2024 ALA Cafe Hours

 What Students Are Saying About the ALA Program

The ALA “was always available and willing to help. I enjoy...our ALA because they were still in their undergrad as me so they could relate to myself and my classmates. They had a good impact on my grade because they were willing to help whenever needed.” – ALA participant, Spring 2021

“The ALA was a huge help because I was able to share my work for review and they provided helpful feedback. I think it has helped me realize I am not alone in this class and that when I need help there is someone willing to help me.” – ALA participant, Spring 2021

“I very much enjoyed taking the class a second time and learning more.  I enjoyed engaging with the students and helping them when they needed it.  It was great to see that "aha" moment!” – Jenn Tucker, Spring 2021

“The most rewarding part has been connecting with the students, in class and during office hours. While I didn't get to meet with everyone, some of the students and I had great conversations about class content but also life experiences (like talking about what it's like studying abroad) and the stress of this year.” –  Emma Fore, Spring 2021

“The most rewarding part has been seeing true change within the students I got to know and work with the entire semester. We got to know each other and I learned so much from them. I was able to listen to their concerns and communicate those with [the professor]. I very much felt appreciated and needed this semester. The students who did attend the Zoom classes were more engaged and asked good questions. That made me very happy to see.” – Sara Hegger, Spring 2021

Want an ALA for Your Course?

Applications for Fall 2024 are closed. Check back soon for Spring 2025 applications!

Want to be an ALA?

Active Learning Assistants earn $14 per hour for approximately ten hours per week. Students of all races, religions, gender identities, sexual orientations, national origins, ages, disability statuses, and veteran statuses are encouraged to apply. 

Apply here

Active Learning Assistants in the News

Brianna Anderson
CTL Assistant Director for Student Support Programming
(314) 516-5598