Program Content Example: Small Actions, Big Impacts

Small Actions. Big Impacts.

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 "Small Actions - Big Impacts" writing activity was useful because I felt like it got me to think critically about what I could do as a learning assistant that could possibly have an impact on students."

"The writing assignment with the articles was extremely helpful because it gave me a new perspective on learning."

"I enjoyed the "Small Changes" activity where we read one of James Lang's articles and thought about what small changes we could make as TAs to promote student learning. I think it helped me to come up with actual ideas that I could implement that are relevant to the class I am TAing for."

Learning Objective: This lesson is designed to help you recognize that small actions often have significant impacts. First you will read about ways that faculty members can make small changes in their teaching that can have significant impact on student learning. Then you will develop and write about a small action for Learning Assistants that might significantly impact student learning. This lesson includes:

  • Readings from the Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Writing assignment (3-4 well-written paragraphs)

James M. Lang is a professor of English and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. He recently published a book and a series of articles in which he argues that simple changes in the way faculty members teach can have powerful impacts on student learning.

For this assignment, please:

  • Browse the articles which are available at: Small Changes in Teaching (Chronicle of Higher Education).
  • Choose an article that you find particularly compelling and read the complete article (every word).
  • As you read the article, formulate ideas about ways in which Learning Assistants can take small steps or actions that will have a significant impact on student learning.
  • Write a 3-4 paragraph article (in a fashion similar to the articles by James M. Lang) about one or more small things that Learning Assistants can do that may have a significant impact on student learning.
  • Submit your article to the Submissions - Small Actions - Big Impacts Writing Assignment folder. 

Please note: Your article may be used to help prepare future Learning Assistants.