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61 students become teaching assistants

UiA arranged a course for students who want to help new students with the practical application of mathematics.

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Photo Skottevig feriesenter
The first part of the course was held at Skottevik holiday centre in Høvåg.

“The course makes prospective teaching assistants better equipped to deploy their mathematical knowledge for teaching”, says Lillian Egelandsaa, project manager of MatRIC, the Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics, funded by the Research Council and UiA.

Photo Lillian

Lillian Egelandsaa is project manager of MatRIC.

MatRIC focuses on mathematics teaching and the understanding of how mathematics is applied in many disciplines other than pure mathematics.

On 6 - 7 August, 61 participants met at Skottevik holiday centre for the first of three gatherings in the Teaching Assistant Programme (LAP). The programme is under the auspices of MatRIC and UiA's Centre for Teaching and Learning, UiA PULS.

Varying prior knowledge

In the programmes of engineering, economics, and business and administration many new students experience challenges in the practical application of mathematics.

The teaching assistants help them with this problem, which is often due to a lack of mathematical knowledge from upper secondary school. Students can also get mathematics help through a drop-in offer or the buddy scheme FYSE (First Year Study Environment).

In the training programme, the teaching assistants receive tips on how, for example, body language affects how learners perceive the person who is teaching. Gunnar Horn, who is a theatre buff and UiA teacher, shares tricks from acting to demonstrate how different postures can make students either fall asleep or lean forward with keen interest during class.

Course participants also receive practical tips and advice about their new role. The new teaching assistants have already spent one or more years in the programme in which they will be teaching.

Photo Krisoffer

Kristoffer Sand wants to be a teaching assistant to pass on knowledge in mechatronics.

“This year, it is especially important that we get skilled teaching assistants for our first-year students. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the students will be divided into smaller groups and do more work in groups. In that setting, our assistants will have a crucial role in including everyone to help them thrive, both academically and socially”, says Egelandsaa.

Passing on knowledge

Kristoffer Sand is a third-year student of mechatronics. In the next academic year, he will be a teaching assistant and manage a FYSE group of new students in mechatronics. Sand says he wants to spend time with the new students to pass on knowledge.

“Mechatronics is a challenging and difficult study programme, so I want to help my fellow students get a good learning outcome”, Sand says.

Watch film from the first part of the Teaching Assistent Program (LAP) (Norwegian).