Learning Assistants (LAs) are undergraduates who are hired to facilitate small-group interaction in our courses. LAs are paid a modest stipend (~$1,500/semester) to work 8 hours per week in various aspects of course transformation.
The LA experience is valuable for students who continue on to any career. LAs who decide to pursue a K-12 teaching license are eligible to apply for Noyce Scholarships of $10,000.
Roles & Responsibilities
LAs help transform courses by creating environments in which students can interact with one another, engage in collaborative problem solving, articulate and defend their ideas, and explicitly discuss aspects of the nature of science and the nature of learning science.
Although the LA experience is somewhat different for each course, it includes three main themes; content, practice, and pedagogy. These themes are brought into the experience through four related activities:
- Assisting Lead Instructors in the Classroom: LAs help facilitate collaboration among learning teams of 6-20 students by formatively assessing student understanding and asking guiding questions. This can occur through the facilitation of small discussions groups in classes and/or in recitations/help sessions. LAs will use good questioning skills and work to involve all students in meaningful group work. LA meet weekly with their faculty instructors to plan for the upcoming week, reflect on the previous week, and analyze student assessment data.
- Participate in a School of Education Seminar: LAs attend a 2 credit hour course, EDUC 4610, where they reflect on their own teaching and learning and make connections to relevant education literature.
- Participating in the Assessment Program: LAs are expected to participate in a variety of observations, assessments, and questionnaires. The data will help track LAs' experiences.
- Participating in a Learning Community: LAs, course instructors, and students learn together.
Scholarship Opportunities Noyce Scholarship Information
Supporting learning assistants who have committed to becoming K-12 math and science teachers.
The LA program supports learning assistants who have committed to becoming K-12 math and science teachers. With the help of the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, the LA program offers learning assistants the opportunity to apply to become Noyce Fellows. Noyce Fellows receive financial support in the amount of $5,000 per semester in the form of forgivable loans. In becoming Noyce Fellows, students understand that they are obligated to teach in a “high-need local education agency” for two years for each year of scholarship assistance.
As a part of the Noyce Scholarship, students have the opportunity to work closely with a STEM faculty mentor. Other benefits include being involved in cutting-edge educational research, mentoring new learning assistants, and working with local K-12 math and science high school teachers.
CU Boulder School of Education Scholarship Information
A limited number of scholarships and awards are available for candidates within the School of Education to support study at the master's and undergraduate levels.
CU Boulder Scholarship Information
The office of Financial Aid provides scholarship information and resources, including general scholarships.
Americorps Education Scholarship
If you are involved in the following service activities, you may be eligible for Americorp Scholarship Funding:
- Tutoring/ mentoring K-12
- Community-based service addressing human needs
- Community work study position in a local service agency
- Participating in service or service-learning activities
Note: Financial need is NOT a consideration for this scholarship
NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship
The NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program provides successful undergraduate applicants with awards that include academic assistance (up to a maximum of $8,000 per year) for full-time study during the 9-month academic year; a 10-week, full-time internship position ($650/week) during the summer at a NOAA facility; and, if reappointed, academic assistance (up to a maximum of $8,000) for full-time study during a second 9-month academic year.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program
The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, individuals who teach full time for five consecutive, complete academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools that serve low-income families and meet other qualifications may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 in principal and interest on their FFEL and/or Direct Loan program loans.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program discharges any remaining debt after 10 years of full-time employment in public service. Some restrictions apply.
Applications for LA positions are typically open for two weeks each semester, starting in mid-October (for Spring positions) and early March (for Fall positions).
Students who want to apply for LA positions need to have an account at the Learning Assistant Alliance website (https://learningassistantalliance.org/). If you already have an account, simply log in to see up-to-date information about what courses will be hiring LAs and to complete and submit an application during the application period. If you do not have an account, take a few minutes to create one, and you will be on your way!
Exploring Teaching and STEM Education for Undergrads
Opportunities are organized into these broad categories:
The following do NOT require acceptance into the School of Education.
Not all courses are offered every semester. Check current course listings.
Step 1: Inquiry Approaches to Teaching (EDUC 2020, 1 credit): This class includes going out to Elementary Schools in the area to teach lessons in Math or Science. This is a great opportunity to work with real students and become more familiar with the inquiry method of teaching. CUTeach site.
Step 1: Inquiry Approach to Teaching in Informal Settings (EDUC 2025, 1 credit): This course invites science and mathematics students to explore teaching and learning in informal K-12 environments. Introduces theory and practice necessary to design and deliver excellent instruction. Meets weekly on CU campus (1.5 hours/week) and requires participants to work a minimum of five hours with K-12 students at STEM-related special events such as science fairs, after school programs, and science camps. CUTeach site.
Step 2: Inquiry Based Lesson Design (EDUC 2030, 1 credit): In this class, you will build off your knowledge from Step 1, and begin to create your own lessons while working with Middle School students. Both of these classes are aimed to help students get a better understanding if K-12 teaching is for them. CUTeach site.
School and Society (EDUC 3013, 3 credits): This class fulfills the requirement for Contemporary Societies in the School of Arts and Science. This class brings to light the issues surrounding education in the United States. This class focuses on Social Justice (issues of equity and diversity) and examines the relationship between schools and a larger society.
Knowing and Learning (EDUC 4050, 3 credits): This class delves into the key ideas in teaching and learning math and science. While exploring the student’s own ideas regarding teaching and learning, the class will help broaden the understanding of current theories on learning and development. To help students apply what they learn, students also go to Middle or High Schools in the area to tutor AVID students weekly. CUTeach site.
Teaching and Learning Biology (MCDB 4811/5811 or EDUC 4811/6811, 3 credits): This course provides an introduction to recent research into student learning on the conceptual foundations of modern biology, together with pedagogical methods associated with effective instruction and its valuation. Students will be involved in active research into conceptual and practical issues involved in biology education, methods to discover student preconceptions, and the design, testing and evaluation of various instructional interventions. Final project involves generating a short video lesson on a key biological concept.
Teaching and Learning in Undergraduate Science Courses (MCDB 5650, 1 credit): This class discusses recent research on how students learn and applications to the teaching of undergraduate science courses. Conducted as an interactive workshop, in which active-engagement in learning approaches are modeled and experienced by participants. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. May be used to fulfill the pedagogical training requirement for undergraduate Learning Assistants in upper division science courses. Post-doctoral and faculty auditors are welcome to participate as regular auditors.
Teaching and Learning Physics (PHYS 4460/EDUC 4460, 3 credits): Learn how people understand key concepts in physics. Through examination of physics content, pedagogy and problems, through teaching, and through research in physics education, students will explore the meaning and means of teaching physics. Students will gain a deeper understanding of how education research is done and how people learn. Useful for all students, especially for those in interested in physics, teaching and education research. Prereq., PHYS 3210 and 3310 or instructor consent. Same as PHYS 5560 and EDUC 4460.
Teaching and Learning Chemistry (EDUC 4822/5822, 3 credits): Explores issues related to how people learn and teach chemistry. Reviews high school and early college chemistry concepts both from the content and pedagogical perspectives. Delves into the chemistry education research, education, psychology and cognitive science literature. Provides an opportunity to observe and/or teach K-12 or college chemistry classes. Department enforced prereq., CHEM 1131, 1133, 1271, or 1371.
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)
I Have a Dream Foundation (IHAD),
Tutoring in Area Schools
Many schools in the area are in need of tutors to help the students that are struggling. This can take many forms, and if you are interested you should contact the school.
Check MyCuInfo for Jobs Needed in Education
These are always changing. To get the job listings visit MyCUInfo.