Academic Excellence Workshops (AEWs)

students in a workshop settingAn AEW is a small community of students working collaboratively to master course material with the guidance of a facilitator. The AEW is designed to give students the opportunity to enhance their learning experience for a particular course. The facilitator for an AEW is trained to develop exercises that forester debate in key elements that have historically given students difficulty and impeded the learning process. As a result of this interaction the students gain both a sense of connectedness and the development of their learning community.

A typical Academic Excellence Workshop can range in size from 5‑15 students, with an average of 9 stu­dents, all enrolled in designated sections of the course (mathematics, chemistry, physics, or engineering me­chanics). Homework and readings are to be attempted prior to the work­shop. These students volun­tarily meet twice a week for 2-hour sessions to work selected problems at least as difficult as the homework, under the guidance of an undergraduate student facilitator who prepares the work­sheets after consultation with the lec­ture professor. The facilitator guides the students to work in small groups to solve the problems and to dis­cuss the correctness of the steps taken and the accuracy of the answer. Specific­ally, the facilitator’s primary function is to create an atmosphere where the students feel secure in asking questions, in making mistakes, and in learn­ing from each other. Ideally, the sources of information become the other students rather than the facilitator.