Course Syllabus

PHY 4905     The Physics Learning Assistants Program   

Essential Information

Instructor (office) Sujata Krishna, Ph. D. (NPB 2249) Class Times Synchronous zoom on  Mondays p4,  10.40 am - 11:.30 am

Responses can be expected within 2 working days. No response on weekends or holidays.

Office Hours

By appointment via email above.

Credits 1 Prerequisites Successful completion with a B+ or better in the physics course in which you implement practice, or an equivalent course.


Course Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Engage with diverse students and physics content in the Physics I/II sequence using the Socratic method to enhance a deeper understanding of the relevant physics concepts.
  2. Provide effective feedback to students in the physics course by facilitating small group problem solving, in a scaffolded fashion.
  3. Critically reflect on and implement novel physics instructional techniques.

Course Description

The LA Model is characterized by three essential elements: Pedagogy, Weekly Preparation, and Practice. This course introduces new Learning Assistants (LA) to active learning. The course will use activities that support:

  1. Eliciting student ideas and helping all group members become active and engaged in the class. An emphasis will be placed on inclusion.
  2. Facilitation skills: Listening and questioning.
  3. Building relationships.
  4. Integrating learning theories with effective practices.

Expectations of Students

To achieve the learning outcomes, students are expected to:

  • Check eLearning for 'Announcements' in the course regularly.
  • Plan your engagement with course content for the week ahead.
  • Do any assigned work.
  • Provide effective written and oral feedback to students in the physics course 2004/2005/other.
  • Engage with students in the PHY2004/2005/other course in a small-group setting and/or via the Discussion Board. You may be responsible for assisting a few small groups or moderating the Discussion Board.
  • Participate in coaching a subset of students from the Phy 2004/2005 cohort in study skills. 
  • Participate in peer observation in a constructive fashion.
  • This course requires time to do all of the above, and students should plan accordingly to spend upto 2 hours per week of study for this course, outside of LA class meetings.

Required Materials

For the LA Course: There is no textbook to be followed for this course. There will be various learning activities based on readings and video-viewings. These materials will be provided to you by the instructor. We will implement the Learning Assistants Alliance model as developed at the University of  Colorado-Boulder. 

For the implementation course: The required text for Phy 2004/2005 is Physics: Principles with Applications by Douglas Giancoli, 7th ed, published by Pearson. As a LA you will have access to the e-textbook, homework, homework solutions and reading quizzes in Mastering Physics, at no cost to you. The required text for Phy 2054 is Physics by Knight, Field, Jones, 4th ed., Pearson.  Your instructor will arrange for this access.  


Grades will update weekly in Canvas.


Attendance + Reliability


Prep sessions activities


Engagement with groups in Group Work

+ Final Feedback Presentations


Written Feedback on Group Work




The following grading standards will be used in this course showing the minumum needed to obtain a grade:

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- E
90  85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 0 <40

Course Policies

Attendance Policy: You are expected to attend the weekly pedagogy-cum-preparatory session  as scheduled.  In addition you are expected to actively participate in the practice "Group Work" sessions scheduled for your Phy 2004/2005/other course. These will be on the same day as this class, but in the regular class time for Phy 2004/2005.   Attendance is mandatory during these sessions. Excused absences and allowances for make-up work are consistent with university policies in the undergraduate catalog. 

 (Links to an externalExcusGroup Work Policy: Physics is learned by doing. PHY2004/2005 students will have required in-class problem solving sessions with harder problems than they are expected to solve individually on exams. There will be at least 4, at most 6, group work sessions in class. Your group will be assigned after the add/drop deadline, and will be visible in eLearning - People - Groups. You will be required to provide written feedback to your groups on work they submit. In the LA-program you are required to work as a group with other LAs who practice in the same physics course as you. Good communication in a timely fashion is key to working as a team.

Feedback Policy: In addition to working with the groups assigned to you during the group work sessions, you will be providing written (ungraded) formative feedback to the groups after each group work session. This feedback must be completed, scanned and submitted by the due date following the group work. If you are work on the discussion board you will be providing written problem solving tips and coaching to students in the physics course.    

 Audio/Visual Recording: Class sessions may be audio-visually recorded for students in the class to refer back and for enrolled students who are unable to attend live. Students who participate with their camera engaged or utilize a profile image are agreeing to have their video or image recorded.  If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Likewise, students who un-mute during class and participate verbally are agreeing to have their voices recorded.

If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during class, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the "chat" feature, which allows students to type questions and comments live. The chat will not be recorded or shared.

As in all courses, unauthorized recording and unauthorized sharing of recorded materials is prohibited.

Communication Policy: All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages, threaded discussions and chats.

Academic Support

E-learning technical support: 352-392-4357 (select option 2) or e-mail to
Career Connections Center: Reitz Union, 392-1601. Career assistance and counseling.
Library Support: Various ways to receive assistance with respect to using the libraries or finding resources.

Teaching Center: Broward Hall, 392-2010 or 392-6420. General study skills and tutoring.
Writing Studio: 302 Tigert Hall, 846-1138. Help brainstorming, formatting, and writing papers.
Student Complaints On-Campus:

Institutional Policies

UNIVERSITY POLICY ON ACCOMMODATING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Students with disabilities who experience learning barriers and would like to request academic accommodations should connect with the disability Resource Center by visiting (Links to an external site.). It is important for students to share their accommodation letter with their instructor and discuss their access needs, as early as possible in the semester. You must submit this documentation prior to submitting assignments or taking the quizzes or exams. Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

UNIVERSITY POLICY ON ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT:  Academic honesty and integrity are fundamental values of the University community. Students should be sure that they understand the UF Student Honor Code at

COURSE EVALUATIONStudents are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at  (Links to an external site.)Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens, and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via (Links to an external site.)  (Links to an external site.)Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at .

Software, Privacy, Accessibility

Student Privacy: There are federal laws protecting your privacy with regards to grades earned in courses and on individual assignments.  For more information, please see: (Links to an external site.)

Privacy Policy: of  Mastering Physics (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.).

E-Learning Supported-Services Privacy Policies (Links to an external site.).

Accessibility Policy: Links to  Mastering Physics (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) policies.

Health & Wellness

U Matter, We Care: If you or a friend is in distress, please contact or 352 392-1575 so that a team member can reach out to the student.

Counseling and Wellness Center: (Links to an external site.), and  392-1575; and the University Police Department: 392-1111 or 9-1-1 for emergencies.

Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS): Student Health Care Center, 392-1161.

University Police Department: at 392-1111 (or 9-1-1 for emergencies), or (Links to an external site.).


Tentative Schedule

This schedule represents our current plans and objectives. As we go through the semester, those plans may need to change to enhance the learning opportunities in the class. Such changes, communicated clearly, are not unusual and should be expected, and this syllabus will be updated accordingly.

Note to Experienced LAs: If you have already completed the pedagogy course once you will be exempted from the particular topics you have already covered. This will be done individually by the instructor during the semester if you let the instructor know. Alternative prep work and activities will replace the pedagogy for those weeks. 

Date Topic Scheduled Class Time 

1. Orientation

Please use the Zoom link, meeting ID and password on the homepage for all class meetings.

MLK Holiday - No class


3. Pedagogy: Know Your Student/Effective teachers

Prep: Draft GW1




4. Pedagogy: Course Design

Prep: Technology practice: Zoom Breakout rooms + facilitation


5. Pedagogy: Blooms Taxonomy & Eliciting Student Ideas

Prep: GW2 Draft; Exam 1 Review Discussion

GW1 in 2004/2005

Submit Feedback by Wednesday

Exam 1 Review (3 LAs)


6. Pedagogy: Academic honesty & culture

Prep: GW2, Feedback from GW 1




7. Pedagogy: Scaffolding

Prep:  Exam 1 performance distribution discussion; Draft of GW 3

GW 2 in 2004/2005

Submit Feedback by Wednesday


8. IDEA - STEM Identity, Agency and Self-efficacy

Prep: Exam Review

Around 2/25 - 2/27

Exam Review Sessions (3 LAs)



9. Pedagogy: Revisiting IDEA

Prep: GW 2 feedback to instructor; GW 3 draft

RJ Workshop? 
3/15 10.Peer Observation Recording Sessions in Zoom

GW3 in Phy 2004/2005



11. Pedagogy: Peer Review

Prep: GW 4 Draft


12. PER Literature + Course Evaluation

GW 4 in Phy 2004/2005

13. LA Presentations

Around 4/1

Exam 2 Review (3 LAs)

4/12 14. LA Presentations


4/19 Next steps in being a LA