Course Syllabus

PHY 4905     The Physics Learning Assistants Program   

Essential Information

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

In person on Mondays p4,  10:40m - 11:35pm in NPB 1200


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

Office Hours person at NPB 2249

period 4: 10:40 - 11:30 am

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.

    Covid-Related Student Expectation

    In response to COVID-19, the following practices are in place to maintain your learning environment, to enhance the safety of our in-classroom interactions, and to  further the health and safety of ourselves, our neighbors, and our loved ones.  

    • If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated.  Vaccines are readily available at no cost and have been demonstrated to be safe and effective against the COVID-19 virus. Visit this link for details on where to get your shot, including options that do not require an appointment: Students who receive the first dose of the vaccine somewhere off-campus and/or outside of Gainesville can still receive their second dose on campus.  
    • You are expected to wear approved face coverings at all times during class and within buildings even if you are vaccinated.  Please continue to follow healthy habits, including best practices like frequent hand washing.  Following these practices is our responsibility as Gators.  
      • Sanitizing supplies are available in the classroom if you wish to wipe down your desks prior to sitting down and at the end of the class. 
      • Hand sanitizing stations will be located in every classroom. 
    • If you sick, stay home and self-quarantine.  Please visit the one.UF  about next steps, retake the questionnaire and schedule your test. Please call your primary care provider if you are ill and need immediate care or the UF Student Health Care Center at 352-392-1161 (or email to be evaluated for testing and to receive further instructions about returning to campus. 
      • Submit paperwork for an excused absence
      • If you are withheld from campus  you are not permitted to use any on campus facilities. Students attempting to attend campus activities when withheld from campus will be referred to the Dean of Students Office.
    • Continue to regularly visit and for up-to-date information about COVID-19 and vaccination. 

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 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 2054 is Physics by Knight, Field, Jones, 4th ed., Pearson.  Your instructor will arrange for this access.  For troubleshooting with access Pearson Office Hours are offered on campus during the first week of term.


Grades will update weekly in Canvas.


Engagement with groups in Group Work or other assigned tasks


Attendance  + Reliability


Prep sessions activities


Reflections on Group Work


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 7 group work sessions in Phy 2004 during M p.6. 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. 

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. 

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 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 may replace the pedagogy for those weeks. 


Period 4

Period 5/6 (Phy2005/2004) Other work this week

 Orientation + Prep for GW 1 


 Introduction of LAs in person + GW 1

LA introductions before 1/23 on the disucssion board in PHY 2004/2005

Mindset and other factors

Prep: Reflections discussion, GW2 draft

Feedback on GW submission by Wed. after the Mon. GW

 Pedagogy: Implicit Bias + Case Study 1

Prep: Exam 1 Review work + Task assignment

GW 2 (ch 3 & 4)

LA Exam 1 Review (ch 1-4)


UF Core Values, Project Interests

Prep: GW 3 draft, Work on Kids Count

Exam 1 Proctoring 

 IDE Lesson 1 activity


Post Exam 1 discussion & 1:1




No Class, but come for PHY 20042005

GW 3




Pedagogy: Community of Inquiry & constructivism

Work on Special Projects

Prep: Exam 2 Review



LA Exam 2 Review 

(ch 5 -9)


Specal Projects Discussion

Prep: Draft of GW 6

GW 4



Prep: GW 7 Draft

Exam 2 Proctoring




LA Presentations

 GW 5

(on ch 11)


LA Presentations 

(Last Day of class)

GW 6  

(on ch 12 & 13)