MSI Frequently Asked Questions

Do you want to provide feedback for your Learning Assistant? You can either fill out a survey, or contact Sharon Castro (stcastro@ucsc.edu) the Lead MSI program coordinator. Any information shared will be kept anonymous unless you choose it not to be. 
  1. Who are the Learning Assistants? 
  2. When does MSI start? 
  3. When and Where are MSI sessions held?
  4. I tried MSI, but I don't think it's right for me. Is there another resource I can use?
  5. Why should I go to MSI?
  6. What can I expect from an MSI session?
  7. How are MSI times selected?
  8. What if I miss the in-class announcement about MSI times?
  9. Do I have to go every week to my MSI session?
  10. Are there MSI sessions during finals week?
  11. How do I find out about an exam study session?
  12. How does LSS choose what classes to support with MSI?
  13. Can MSI sessions be permanently canceled?
  14. How do I contact the Learning Assistant?
  15. How do I find out more information about the Learning Assistant?
  16. How do I become a Learning Assistant?

1. Who are the Learning Assistants?

Learning Assistants are undergraduate students who are interested in creating collaborative spaces for their peers to learn. Learning Assistants are from all different types of majors, different colleges, diverse backgrounds, and different years. All Learning Assistants are required to take a tutor training class aimed at helping them be better educators. The tutor training class focuses on helping develop fundamental teaching skills that center around facilitating interactive tutor and MSI sessions, creating a collaborative community in the sessions, and developing mindful, culturally sensitive tutors.

All Learning Assistants have taken the class they are working in and received a B or better and received a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. Learning Assistants are also asked to attend training dates during the quarter on resources like CAPS, the Cantu Queer Center, and how to work with diverse sets of students. 

2. When does MSI start?

MSI generally starts during the second full week of the quarter. The actual start time may vary on when the Learning Assistant makes an announcement in class and when sessions can be scheduled.  Keep an eye out for the Learning Assistant's announcement in lecture, on the course website, or the Canvas page. You can also try checking out MSI schedule. 

3. When and where are MSI sessions held?

MSI Sessions are located in various locations and classrooms across campus including the Academic Resource Center (ARCenter), Oakes Learning Center, and Learning Support Services/HSI Cowell College Mobile Office. You can find the times and locations of available MSI sessions by checking the complete schedule found online

4. I tried MSI, but I don't think it's right for me. Is there another resource I can use?

Yes! LSS wants to provide students with accessible services that fit your unique learning style. If MSI is not the right fit for you, you can sign-up or request a Small Group Tutor. If you're interested in signing up for Small Group Tutoring, please contact Learning Support Services via email at lss@ucsc.edu, give us a call at (831) 459-1902 or stop by our office, ARCenter, Room 221 and we can help you sign-up.

5. Why should I go to MSI?

MSI is guaranteed time to practice problems and work with your peers! This is ideal for students who want to meet classmates, work with peers, or get to know new people. LSS makes sure to hire Learning Assistants who are qualified to lead interactive and collaborative MSI sessions. Students who attend MSI six or more times are much more likely to pass the class and are more likely to receive a higher grade than students who do not attend MSI. 

6. What can I expect from an MSI session?

If you attend MSI regularly, you can expect to work on problems with your peers in MSI sessions. Students don't have to come to MSI sessions prepared, but should be willing to group up and talk to their classmates and work on class problems together. You can also expect to learn effective study skills that will help you in your current and future classes! Lastly, if you attend MSI regularly you can expect to have create meaningful relationships with your peers and Learning Assistant

7. How are MSI times selected?

Your Learning Assistant will survey your class during the first few days of the quarter. The most popular and widely distributed times are then chosen.

8. What if I miss the in-class announcement about MSI times?

No problem! You can go on-line and view the MSI schedule and click on your class. There, you can find the MSI times and the Learning Assistant for your course.

9. Do I have to go every week to my MSI session?

If you want to benefit most from MSI, yes! Students tend to get the most benefit from the MSI sessions if they attend weekly or at least 6 times during the quarter. For some courses, MSI may have a sign-up procedure that will require you to sign-up for and attend a specific session each week. In MSI you can expect to engage closely with your Learning Assistant and your fellow students during these sessions, developing communication and collaborative problem-solving skills that will help you excel both in your course and in your college career.

10. Are there MSI sessions during finals week?

No, unless there is a exam study session scheduled. The last MSI sessions for the quarter are held during the last week of instruction.

11. How do I find out about an exam study session?

MSI exam study sessions are limited to those who have attended at least one MSI session during the quarter. The Learning Assistant will announce the study sessions during MSI sessions and an email may be sent to students who have attended sessions.

12. How does LSS choose what classes to support with MSI?

Traditionally, MSI is implemented in courses that may be challenging to students in consultation with faculty and department staff. MSI is also offered in select upper division courses that "core" courses in majors. 

13. Can MSI sessions be permanently canceled?

Unfortunately, if an MSI session consistently has low attendance, yes. (If you and your peers consistently go to MSI, it won't get cancelled!) If a session is canceled but you are interested in the service, please check out the MSI schedule as there will be other MSI sessions for students to attend. 

14. How do I contact the Learning Assistant?

Learning Assistants are in every lecture for your class, so you can always check-in with them there. We ask all Learning Assistant to sit in the front and hopefully they're in the same sport every time. You can also email your learning Assistant if needed. However, we instruct our Learning Assistants to not help students over email. If you need help on course material, attend your MSI session! You can find your Learning Assistant's email on their MSI schedule profile.

15. How do I find out more information about the Learning Assistant?

You can check out the MSI Learning Assistant's profile on the MSI Schedule. There you will find a picture, their personal statement, the times and locations of the MSI sessions they are leading as well as their contact information.

16. How do I become a Learning Assistant?

Every quarter, LSS hires tutors in the Division of the Arts, Division of Humanities, Division of Physical & Biological Sciences, Division of Social Sciences and Baskin School of Engineering. Students who apply must be in good academic standing as determined by your college as well as have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher. Please review our Student Job page if you are interested in becoming a part of the LSS team. Also, feel free to contact our office at (831) 459-4333 or at lssjobs@ucsc.edu with any questions about our hiring process.