NSF Awards "Using Learning Assistants to Make Physics Teaching More Effective, Equitable, and Engaging"


SMATE's Tra Huynh is a contributor to the National Science Foundation grant: Using Learning Assistants to Make Physics Teaching More Effective, Equitable, and Engaging.   This project, aimed at enhancing teaching and learning in large introductory physics courses for the betterment of STEM education, is a collaborative effort involving investigators from Seattle Pacific University, the University of Washington Bothell, and Western Washington University. The project recognizes the significance of active, student-centered instruction in improving learning outcomes, especially in large class settings. Learning Assistants (LAs) play a pivotal role in making courses more engaging and student-centered, provided they are equipped to address diverse science ideas from students. To achieve this, the project focuses on three key objectives: investigating the teaching and learning approaches of LAs, developing and testing effective pedagogical materials, and promoting diversity among LAs. This transformative approach to LA training, known as "TRELLIS: Training to Elicit and Leverage Ideas about Science," seeks to create a trellis of knowledge, skills, and perspectives to support fruitful ideas in physics education. The project's outcomes are poised to have a nationwide impact on LA programs and potentially extend to other disciplines, aligning perfectly with the NSF's mission to enhance STEM education for all students. This award reflects the project's intellectual merit and broader impact in advancing STEM education.