Peer Learning and Credit - L&S Guidelines
Peer Learning experiences involve undergraduate students who serve as mentors/tutors, and students who benefit from the mentoring or tutoring. When students are paying for and receiving credit for these academic experiences, it is our responsibility to ensure that both courses conform to university expectations about for-credit learning experiences. The following Guidelines combine both existing policy and L&S Curriculum Committee advice to departments proposing such courses. The guidelines were approved by the L&S Curriculum Committee on 11/24/2015.
Accreditation policies assume qualified instructors are teaching courses. When a mentor/tutor is engaged in assisting with another course, the following guidelines must be followed:
- The L&S Curriculum Committee considers it inappropriate to propose to charge students tuition for courses where the ‘instructional contact’ in the credit formula is provided by student peers. It should be clear to all (L&S administration, curriculum committees, faculty, undergraduate tutors, and students that are recipients of tutoring) that the tutoring/mentoring is a supplement to other instructional contact provided by qualified instructors
- Peer mentors may not assign grades; the instructor of record is responsible for all grades in the course.
- In L&S, we do not allow undergraduates to do work more properly performed by a TA or compensated reader/grader.
Mentor course experience
Courses teaching students how to mentor/tutor have the same guidelines and process as other academic courses. To create a course, a proposal must be submitted to the online course proposal system. Some guidelines that may be helpful for peer learning courses:
- All courses must live in an appropriate academic department.
- The course proposal and syllabus should clearly show that students enrolled in a course for peer mentors are engaged in learning how to teach and facilitate learning. The credit for which they pay is for instruction on these topics, and it should meet the federal credit hour guidelines (50 minutes per week, per credit). The tutoring and peer support they provide is akin to homework, or ‘service learning’ where they apply what they learn in real-world contexts.
- If students in the course are primarily being graded on attendance and participation in class, it should be proposed as a Credit/No Credit course.
- Because peer learning models are typically group instruction, directed study courses may not be used. (The Provost’s Office monitors enrollment in directed study courses).
- Departments may choose to offer a peer learning course initially in a topics course. However, as with all courses, this is only a temporary home, since a course may only be offered three times in five years under a topics number. Peer learning courses may not be offered in a topics course with breadth.
- This type of course would not normally be approved repeatable for credit.