This is an example of content from the Learning Assistants Quick Start Program which is a D2L-based mini-course offered at the University of Arizona.
Learning Assistant Comments
I thought the discussion activity was very useful, it allowed me to understand what others got from the information and for me to be able to explain what I understood."
"The online discussion was helpful because I was able to interact with other LAs and see what they were thinking."
"I thought the discussion activities were really helpful. Especially when we got to watch videos and answer different questions and see how different learning assistants would tackle problems."
Learning Objective: The purpose of this lesson is to introduce you to the important idea of inclusivity in the college classroom. This lesson includes the following activities:
- Read & Explore the info about inclusivity and diversity
- Watch the video "To Care & Comply: Accessibility of Online Course Content"
- Participate in a discussion
- Reflect on the reading
Creating Inclusive Classrooms
Read & Explore
Inclusive classrooms involve the instructors and learning assistants working together to create an environment where all students have the opportunity to succeed. When I was a teaching assistant, I noticed that my instructor was showing videos without providing captioning; in our weekly meeting, I suggested that videos be shown with captioning to make sure that all students were benefitting from the videos. This seemingly simple action might have made a huge difference for some students who were having trouble hearing the videos or for international students who might benefit from the captioning.
The UA's webpage on Creating Inclusive Classrooms has many links and info that will help support you as you develop your understanding and awareness of inclusive classrooms. There are many links to explore here so choose one that interests you.
I am including this video, which highlights several students with disabilities, because it really made a difference for me when thinking about how to create a more accessible learning environment. Again, think about ways that you as a learning assistant could support all students in your classrooms. If you personally are not able to make changes, then consider asking your instructor to modify or adapt their teaching practices so that all students have the opportunity to be successful. (It can be intimidating to ask faculty to consider these things, but if you see yourself as an advocate for student learning, it is important that you suggest ways that the classroom environment and course materials could be improved. Maybe you could even do the improving!)
After watching the video, think about one change you could make or suggest be made in the course that you are assisting. If you aren't able to answer this question yet, think about what you would do, given the information from the video, to make your course more inclusive and accessible. If you have worked with students before, think about what you could/would do differently now after watching the video.
Looking back over the Creating Inclusive Classrooms website, consider these questions: what stands out to you and why or what is something you found useful and why?