Advanced undergraduate students who have completed a collaborative course engage in a peer mentoring (project guide) relationship with undergraduate students who are experiencing their first collaborative course. Project Guides benefit by building a stronger sense of community within the collaborative course, learn new things about themselves and their profession, are challenged to approach student learning issues through another’s perspective, and increase their own knowledge about mentoring of peers, as well as themselves. Project Guides have the opportunity, with a faculty mentor, to present research related to collaborative learning at professional conferences as well as publishing in both professional and undergraduate student research journals. Although Project Guides are not financially reimbursed for their contributions, they do obtain three credit hours of academic research.
What Roles Do They Play?
Peer Project Guides play an integral role in the traditional student-faculty dyad, contributing to the success of a course. They are generally upperclassmen who have taken the course before and offer their knowledge and experiences in assisting students. Their unique position bridges the communication and feedback gap between students and faculty. They are able to give invaluable and specific feedback to the faculty regarding student perceptions of the course, allowing for course revision and improvement that is 'just in time.'
The project guides serve as facilitators of learning, encouraging participation, promoting collaboration among the students, and essentially fostering key active learning experiences for the students. They help students to become comfortable with the technology, and are often available to help outside of class hours.
Essentially, the project guides are there to enhance learning, and hence the success of the course. The faculty benefit from gaining insight into student perceptions, and are consequently able to continually improve methodologies. The project guides themselves benefit by being in a role that forces them to become more organized and effectively manage their time, while gaining important interpersonal, coaching, and facilitating skills.
Project Guide Research
- Peer Mentor Roles in a Collaborative On-Line Course- DOWNLOAD [PDF]
- Eight Ways Project Guides Provoke Learning DOWNLOAD [PPT]
- Collaborative Cohesion Teams [PPT]
- Collaborative Roles [PPT]
- Collaborative Team Role Patterns [PPT]