BIOL 1107 - Dr. Norris Armstrong
Building upon lessons learned during fall 2016, including substantial feedback from students and PLAs alike, Dr. Armstrong continues development of his implementation strategies for spring 2017. In addition to a dozen first-time Peer Learning Assistants, several veteran PLAs are returning this semester. This provides another level of support that is quite valuable to the management of PLAs in a large auditorium classroom. PLAs attend each class meeting to work with students on worksheet learning activites. Some PLAs also provide sessions outside of class for additional support for students. Biology PLAs receive pedagogical training in a discipline-specific course, BIOL 3910.
Seventeen Peer Learning Assistants have been working in Dr. Armstrong's two sections of BIOL 1107. Due to scheduling logistics, nine PLAs support the 9:05 course, while seven support the 11:15. Initial feedback suggests that having more PLAs available would be beneficial, though the current coverage works most of the time. Peer Learning Assistants meet weekly with Dr. Armstrong for briefings regarding upcoming materials and goals. The PLAs also attend each meeting of 1107, with the exception of test dates. Additionally, the PLAs receive pedagogy training via BIOL3910. This training is delivered largely online, with four scheduled face-to-face meetings during the semester.