This semester, the Peer Led Learning program added two new courses to its program — Introduction to Biology and Organic Chemistry. Students and peer coaches have already experienced success with both offerings, prompting P2L to consider even more additions.
Offered through the Georges Student Center, P2L is a program in which 21 undergraduate peer coaches offer weekly review sessions for large STEM courses. The program focuses on high-enrollment courses that tend to be challenging for students and are needed as prerequisites for STEM majors. Students are given the opportunity through sessions to review material, learn study strategies, collaborate with peers and help from peer coaches.
Laura Devlin, academic support program coordinator, said P2L wanted to expand its student base with the new courses, and now serves around 2,920 students across all areas.
“Both courses have pretty high enrollment numbers, so adding them to the program allows us to support many more students,” Devlin said.
The program is also increasing the selection of locations where sessions are held. Previously, all sessions were held in the Georges Student Center in Clemons Library, but now Shannon House and the Multicultural Student Center are being used as more convenient locations for students living in first-year housing.
Devlin praised the success of the sessions for the new courses so far, noting positive attitudes and high turnout from students.
“We have a great team of peer coaches who are hard-working and enthusiastic about supporting students,” Devlin said. “It’s been great to see many students coming to sessions on a regular basis. It lets us know that they recognize the value of participating in the program.”
During her time as a peer coach for Math 1310, second-year College student Rebecca Yakobson said she has noticed improvements in both her student’s skills and her own abilities.
“High school math is taught differently than college math, so P2L is really helpful with that because it teaches students how to help themselves,” Yakobson said. “For me, working with others has always helped out a lot in math, which is why P2L is so appealing since it’s a collaborative learning approach.”
Yakobson pointed to the program’s interactive approach, a feature that second-year College student Eleanor Steiner said has improved her studying for organic chemistry.
“Learning from people who have previously taken the class, and been successful with my professor, helps me better understand what needs to be done to perform well on exams and in learning overall course content,” Steiner said. “The extra practice has definitely been worthwhile.”
While she has had success with the program, Steiner also said the program has flaws to iron out.
“The only issue I’ve found with the P2L program is that there is variability in the P2L leaders,” Steiner said. “There’s not a consistent curriculum and the way the leaders teach differs so it can sometimes be confusing.”
Steiner believes every STEM course should be available through the program, as students would greatly benefit from extra help on practice problems.
Devlin said they hope to continue the program more in the future to add more courses and student leadership opportunities so P2L can support as many students as possible.
“We hope to add several more courses to P2L over the next few semesters, and we’re looking forward to supporting even more students,” Devlin said. “We’ll also be hiring more peer coaches as the program continues to grow, so we’re excited to provide more student leadership opportunities as well.”