Enhancing Teaching and Learning for a Large Class with Students of Diverse Science Background through a Peer Assist System
The University of Hong Kong
We report the design and implementation of a peer assist study system for a large interdisciplinary science foundation course taken by all science students (annual enrolment 650) from 2016-17 academic year to now. The system aims to provide an interactive and flexible learning environment for students with different needs in learning science, and help the teachers to identify the major learning hurdles in the course. Undergraduate peer-learning leaders who had recently finished the course are trained to facilitate group discussion sessions and individual/small-group drop-in hours so that they can help students by (i) sharing learning experience, (ii) stimulating group intelligence to overcome learning hurdles, and (iii) reflecting the most accurate information to the course teachers about the students’ needs in the learning of the course. In essence, these peer-learning leaders provide an invaluable middle layer of academic support between students and teachers.
In the poster, we report on the opportunities and challenges of incorporating peer learning into formal university teaching activities. We would also report the evolution of the system over time, highlighting the increasing influence of and contributions from the experienced senior peer leaders. Thoughts on how to develop long-term sustainable peer assisted learning in university science education will also be discussed. This work is partially supported by a HKU Teaching Development Grant.