Good Practice in Undergraduate Peer Support: A Guide for Those Interested in the Establishment and Development of Undergraduate Mathematics Peer Support in Higher Education Institutions
This good practice guide is for those interested in developing or supporting formal and/or informal peer-assisted learning in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The guide draws on data collected through a project funded by the MSOR Network across 2008-2009. The project aimed to establish the nature of current undergraduate peer support in HEIs and to identify and disseminate good practice. In peer support, both undergraduates and postgraduates support other students: either in the same or different year groups, in informal or formal situations and via face-to-face or e-support. Within mathematics, research has shown that peer-assisted learning can motivate and encourage students to engage with the subject. During the life of the project, data have been gathered from an on-line survey to HEIs in the UK, from visits to HEIs and Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETLs) and through focus group and one-to-one interviews with university students and staff. This guide presents a rationale for peer support and examines the various models of peer-assisted learning adopted by HEIs. It discusses the findings of the MSOR project and goes on to explore the benefits and challenges of peer support practice. The guide does not claim to ‘have all the answers’; indeed, what works in one place may not necessarily work in another. Rather, it provides background information to the area of peer support and offers advice and the experience of those already familiar with the territory. We hope that the guide will engender debate and encourage others to explore the issues presented here. The guide provides examples of good practice for anyone intending to promote formal and/or informal peer support within their institution.