MSI Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Who are the Learning Assistants? 
  2. When does MSI start? 
  3. When and Where are MSI sessions held?
  4. If I need more help, what other services does Learning Support Services offer?
  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 cancelled?
  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. Learning Assistants have all taken a tutor training class aimed at helping them be better educators. 

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 memeber. Learning Assistants are also asked to attend trainings 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, so keep an eye out for the Learning Assistant's announcement. 

3. When and where are MSI sessions held?

MSI Sessions are located in various locations across campus including the Academic Resource Center (which is located between McHenry Library and the Music Center) and Oakes Learning Center. You can find the times and locations of available MSI sessions by checking the complete schedule found online

4. If I need more help, what other services does Learning Support Services offer?

If a course is supported by MSI we usually encourage students to try out the MSI sessions first. MSI is meant to be a collaborative space that provides interactive study time. If you would still like to receive additional tutoring support, 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.

5. Why should I go to MSI?

MSI is guaranteed study time! This is ideal for students with busy schedules, or for students who want a little more motivation to study with classmates. LSS makes sure to hire Learning Assistants who are qualified to lead interactive and collaborative MSI sessions. All of the MSI Learning Assistants LSS hires have taken the class, got a B or better in the class, and have been recommended by a fauclty memeber in the discipline they want to work in.

The Learnining Assistant facilitates the group but focuses on creating collaborative learning spaces where students work together to answer questions in groups. Students who attend MSI 4 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. MSI also gives you a chance to get to know others in your class in a relaxed environment.

6. What can I expect from an MSI session?

Learning Assistants are trained to fascillitate interactive groups, so students should expect to work on problems collaboratively in small groups during 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. Students should also expect to learn and practice study skills aimed at helping them succeed at UCSC. Students should expect to create meaningful relationships with classmates and their Learning Assistants.

7. How are MSI times selected?

A survey is done in class during the first few days of the quarter. The most popular and widely distributed times are chosen.

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

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?

Weekly attendance for the MSI program is not required; although, students tend to get the most benefit from the MSI sessions if they attend weekly or at least 4 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.

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?

LSS usually supports large (over 50) entry-level lower and upper division courses with MSI. Some of the coruses supported with MSI have generally proven to be difficult for many students. Professors can also request to have MSI support for their course.

13. Can MSI sessions be permanently canceled?

MSI sessions are permanently canceled if attendance is low. We sometimes base support for a course on the amount of students that use the service, if you would like to keep MSI in your class, please go to MSI! If a session is cancelled 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, 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. You can find your Learning Assistant's email on their MSI schedule profile. course, the best place and time to talk with them is during the scheduled MSI sessions!

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

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.