Course Syllabus

PHY 4905-22574     The Physics Learning Assistants Program   

Essential Information

Instructor (office) Sujata Krishna, Ph. D. (NPB 2249) Class Times

Fridays p4,  10:40m - 11:35pm

NPB 1200


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

Office Hours

Thurs in period 6 NPB 2249

 12:50 - 1:40 pm

(best to email me ahead)

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


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. Professional Development skills such as guiding, mentoring, coaching and leadership.
  4. Integrating learning theories with effective practices.

Expectations of Students

To achieve the learning outcomes, LAs are expected to:

  • Check eLearning for 'Announcements' in the course regularly.
  • Plan your engagement with course content for the week ahead.
  • Be responsible about all assigned tasks, particularly those relating to students.
  • 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, moderating the Discussion Board, HW Office Hours and Exam Review as assigned.
  • Participate in coaching students from the Phy 2004/2005 cohort in study skills. 
  • Participate in peer observation in a constructive fashion.
  • Communicate in a timely fashion with the instructor especially when you are experiencing any difficulties.
  • This course requires time to do all of the above, and students should plan accordingly to spend upto 2 hours per week of study/work for this course, outside of LA class meetings.
  • Physics is practiced and advanced by a scientific community of individuals with diverse backgrounds and identities and is open and welcoming to everyone. The instructional team recognizes the value in diversity, equity and inclusion in all aspects of this course. This includes, but is not limited to differences in race, ethnicity, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, religion and disability. Students may have opportunities to work together in this course. We expect respectful student collaborations such as attentive listening and responding to the contributions of all teammates. 

    Physics, like all human endeavors, is something that is learned. Our aim is to foster an atmosphere of learning that is based on inclusion, transparency and respect for all participants.  We acknowledge the different needs and perspectives we bring to our common learning space and strive to provide everyone with equal access. All students meeting the course prerequisites belong here and are well positioned for success.

    • Required Materials

For the LA Course: There is no textbook required for this course. There will be various learning activities based on readings and case studies. 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 2053/2054 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 or other assigned tasks


Final  Presentation




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

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- E
95  90 85 80 75 70 65 60 50 40 30 0 <30

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. 
Class Demeanor:
Students are expected to arrive to class on time and behave in a manner that is inclusive and respectful to the instructor and to fellow students. Please avoid the use of  computers/tablets, cell phones unless you are instructed to use them.  Opinions held by other students should be respected in discussion by listening to all viewpoints with consideration and responding to them in a respectful manner. Conversations that do not contribute to the discussion should be held at minimum.

Group 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 about 5 group work sessions in Phy 2004 during F period 8. Your group will be assigned after the add/drop deadline, and will be visible in eLearning - People - Groups.  You will be trained to facilitate your groups during the pedagogy part of the class. You will then practice and implement that in your group work session You are 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. Being responsible is a large part of being an LA. 

Communication Policy:

All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all classes, 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

AUDIOVISUAL RECORDING: The UF policy will be followed for class recordings, as stated here 

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 EVALUATION: Students 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 may replace the pedagogy for those weeks. 


Period 4

Period 8 (Phy2005/2004) Other work this week


introduction on Discussion Board

Textbook and HW Access


 Orientation + Prep for GW 1 

In Phy 2004 eLearning: LA introductions before 9/10 on the disucssion board


Pedagogy: Drawing Out Student Ideas

GW1 (Group Work 1) Reflection 1

Special Projects + GW2 draft


 Reflection 1 Discussion

Pedagogy: Challenging GW Scenarios

Prep: Reflections discussion, GW 3 draft


GW 2 

Reflection 2

LA Exam 1 Review (ch 1-4)


 No class



Exam 1 Proctoring




Discussions on Reflection 2

Phy 2004: GW 3 draft





GW 3

Reflection 3


Discuss Reflection 3

Pedagogy: Community of Inquiry & constructivism

Prep: Phy 2004:  Draft of GW 4





 Work on Special Projects

Deliberation Forum?

Prep: Exam 2 Review



GW4 Reflection

LA Exam 2 Review (date TBD)


 11/11 No class for Veteran's Day


GW4 Reflection Discussion

Case studies

Prep: Draft of GW 5

Exam 2 proctoring (11/9)


 No class: Happy Thanksgiving!




LA Presentations (Last class meeting)

GW 5 (Last GW Facilitation)



Phy 2004:

LA Exam 3 Review Part I (ch 1-7)


Phy 2004:LA Exam 3 Review Part 2 (ch 8 -14)