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NameEmanuella Dolcine
Organization or InstitutionUniversity Of Central Florida
TopicChemistry Education

Examining Undergraduate Learning Assistant's Experiences in a Mixed-Reality Simulator


Emanuella Dolcine, Esther Francom, Christopher Nix, Julie Donnelly, Erin Saitta

Author Institution(s)

University Of Central Florida


Undergraduate Learning Assistants (ULAs) are pivotal in enhancing student engagement. There are multiple ways that college departments invest in preparing ULAs for working in undergraduate chemistry classrooms, including a credit-bearing course focused on facilitating active learning. Mixed-reality simulators have shown great success with graduate teaching assistants, but there is a lack of research on how this approach may help prepare ULAs for classroom instruction This study will follow ULAs as they engage in a rehearsal-based approach to practicing pedagogical skills in a mixed-reality teaching simulator as part of their ULA coursework. This study incorporates situated learning and social learning theories as guiding frameworks for how learners observe, model, and imitate behaviors, attitudes, and emotions while developing teaching skills. The simulator was used in a ULA pedagogical course by 17 ULAs. The recorded simulator sessions from 13 ULAs were coded to describe the extent to which the target skills were enacted during the rehearsal. The course instructor was also interviewed about the experience to determine a facilitator's role in creating and enhancing the simulator rehearsal environment. These results can inform how the simulator can be most effective when preparing ULAs for undergraduate chemistry classrooms.