Learning Assistants

Quarter Plus Learning Assistants are the lifeline of the program. Serving as peer mentors, Learning Assistants are positive role models that demonstrate academic success, personal integrity, and a commitment to the Cal Poly community. Learning Assistant involvement is critical to mentor students and provide consistent, daily communication between staff, faculty and program coordinators. The majority of Learning Assistants are Quarter Plus alumni and many are also members of the University Honors Program.

Ryan Alaniz

Dr. Ryan Alaniz

Faculty Learning Assistant Coordinator Lead

As the Quarter Plus Faculty Learning Assistant Coordinator, Dr. Ryan Alaniz serves as the primary point of contact for the Quarter Plus Program’s Learning Assistants and is responsible for designing and facilitating the Learning Assistants’ training. He will mentor and guide the Learning Assistants throughout the Quarter Plus program, as well as act as a liaison between the instructors and Learning Assistants. Dr. Alaniz is currently an associate professor of sociology at Cal Poly, and a Quarter Plus instructor. He collaborates with various academic institutions including: United Nations University-Institute for Human and Environment Security, International Social Science Council, and the Fulbright program.


Responsibilities & Qualifications

Study Sessions

Study sessions provide optional learning environments outside of class to supplement material taught by the course instructor. No new material is taught in study sessions; rather students are provided with an opportunity collaborate with one another to further their academic success in the program. Learning Assistants guide discussion of the material, provide learning activities, and challenge students to critically engage with the course material.

Study sessions will vary by course. Learning assistants attend all weekly class sessions so they can focus on that week’s content, not on general review. Learning Assistants are paid for prep time of 2 hours/study session and are expected to prepare collaborative, challenging activities to foster student learning. There is no tutoring involved. What study sessions involve:

  • Discussion, debate and practice of specific course topics
  • Focused and structured study time
  • Collaborative learning
  • Critical thinking and application
  • Study skills in context
  • Opportunities to complete course assignments, as needed

What study sessions do NOT involve:

  • Individual Tutoring
  • Excessive homework time
  • Lecture – not re-teaching material

Questions?

Contact Eileen Akin, Extended Education at (805) 756-7499 or eakin@calpoly.edu