2009 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 21, 2009
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



Peer instructors: Improving service to learners while providing a transcendent learning experience for student-instructors

Linda Martin-Morris and Karen Petersen (Biology)

We are a research university. And we encourage undergraduate students to gain access to research laboratories as a means toward providing these students with the kind of learning that transcends a classroom. Student can also obtain transcendent educational opportunities by participating on the teaching side of the student-teacher dynamic. Not only do undergraduate instructors have the opportunity to learn a body of concepts more deeply through teaching, they provide our learners with instructors who are truly accessible and ones who can relate immediately to the undergraduate experience. In addition to benefiting the undergraduate instructor and the student, the use of peer teaching assistants and peer facilitators in our classrooms has provided us, as faculty, with insights into how students learn and what confuses them. These insights enable us to improve the quality of our instruction.

In a difficult economic time, everyone benefits from the use of peer instructors in classrooms. Student-instructors gain skills in leadership and responsibility. These skills, on a resume, qualify the student-instructor for more employment and graduate school options in the future. Student-learners gain access and intimacy by having more instructors. Departments gain by bringing quality instructors who are passionate about the needs of learners to the classroom at very low cost.

This poster aims to inform the community about the different strategies used in Biology to utilize peer instructors. We will also discuss strategies for preparing the undergraduate to assume this responsibility with care to accurate dissemination of information and professional considerations about student confidentiality.


Index of Symposium Presenters