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FAQs About Peer Learning Leaders



Frequently Asked Questions About Peer Learning Leaders

Q: What are Peer Led Study Sessions?

A: Peer Led Study Groups are offered through the LIU Brooklyn Learning Communities Program as an option for outside-of-class learning for introductory level core courses. These groups and courses are called Collaborative Learning Communities.   The groups, composed of no more than 10 students, meet weekly for two hours in the LIUBLC Pratt 321 space or another designated area. Peer leaders are students who have already successfully completed the course and who are trained in group facilitation and collaborative learning techniques. They facilitate peer study groups. The purpose of the Study Group activities is to engage all of the group members in the learning process. This may involve collectively reviewing notes, working together to solve problems or critiquing each other’s work. All students enrolled in the course are eligible to sign up for a peer led Study Group.

Q: How do students register for Study Groups?

A: Course faculty will receive a sign up sheet to give to their class to register for a Study Group. This will generally happen the first or second week of the term during Fall and Spring. Students can join a group throughout the term. We encourage students to register early, however, as many groups meet the maximum member limit (10 students) soon after registration opens.

Q: How do I inform my students about the Peer Learning Program?

A: There are a number of ways you can inform your students about the option of joining a Peer Study Group:

  • Provide a link on your course web site and syllabus to the LIUBLC Collaborative Learning Community Program.
  • Make an announcement about the Peer Learning Study Group program during class.
  • The Collaborative Learning Communities site includes information and links that highlight important Study Group techniques and examples. We can also send a program representative to speak briefly to your class about the groups. To request either option, e-mail Professors Sanchez or Mutnick below.
  • Refer students to the program during your office hour appointments.

Q: Do Course Instructors and Peer Group Leaders interact during the term?

A: We respect faculty time and therefore try to limit unnecessary contact between peer leaders and course instructors. However, we do encourage instructors to interact with the Peer Leaders as much as they wish. We recommend, for example, that instructors hold a beginning of term meeting with all of the Peer Study Group Leaders for their course to provide an overview of the course and other important information about the term that may be useful. The Collaborative Learning Communities Program staff may contact you throughout the term with important program information and may request your assistance in securing resources or obtaining access to your online materials for use by the Peer Study Group Leaders.

Q: Why do Peer Study Group Leaders need access to my course website or other online tools?

A: Facilitators are expected to promote small group learning and it is important for them to be current with the course content and have access to problem sets or required online exercises. This helps them be better prepared for group meetings. Often, facilitators will work through problems ahead of time so they can provide guidance to members as they work in small groups to solve the problems. Facilitators also gain more credibility if they are aware of what is currently happening in the course and can prepare activities ahead of time that are relevant to the members’ current coursework.

Q: What courses are Participating in the Peer led Collaborative Learning Communities?

A: The groups vary by term, but are regularly offered for Biology 1, Biology 2, English 16, Math 16, Politics 11, and Psychology 3. For a list of the courses supported with PL study groups for the current term, see our webpage at LIUBLC Collaborative Learning Community Program. 

Q: Can I request a study group if no groups are currently offered for my course?

A: To request a group for your course, please e-mail us below. While the CLC would like to honor all group requests, it may not be possible in all cases. There is a lot of planning and training involved in setting up Collaborative Learning groups. The LIUBLC Program Staff will evaluate your request and the feasibility of offering additional groups. It is ideal to request new groups before the start of the term, but requests will be accepted at any point in the term. Introductory level courses are generally given highest priority.

Q: Who can become a Peer Learning Leader?

A: Study group Peer Leaders are undergraduate students who have successfully completed the course in a previous term. They are trained in collaborative learning and facilitation techniques. Their primary responsibility is to help group members work together and learn from each other. Study group facilitators do not teach, tutor or lecture. Facilitators are hired at the beginning of each term and are members of the LIUBLC staff.

Q: Who should join a Peer Led Study Group?

A: All students enrolled in the course are eligible to enroll in a study group. Students of all ability levels are encouraged to join a study group. Study groups provide a great opportunity for students to establish a set study time each week. Research also shows that all students benefit from working with peers to master course material. However, study groups may not be a fit for all students. Students joining a study group should show some interest in working each week with their peers, be willing to actively participate in meetings, and enjoy studying in a small group environment.

Q: Can the Peer Leaders provide the course instructor with information about student attendance and performance in the Study Groups?

A: Peer Leaders should not divulge any information to the instructor about what students do in the Study Groups. There are two reasons for this. One, the Study Groups are a student domain. They are effective precisely because they are run by students and not open to faculty scrutiny. Second, our assessment of the Collaborative Learning program will need to examine how students in the same class differ in performance by their participation in Study Groups. The instructor will be notified about which of his/her course students participated in Study Groups after they have assigned final grades. This will ensure that no conscious or subconscious bias intrudes into the grading process.

Q: Who should I contact if I have additional questions about the Study Group Program?

A: Send an e-mail to Professors Sanchez and Mutnick and they will respond to you as soon as possible.


LIUBLC Co-Coordinators: Dr. Jose R. Sanchez, 718-488-3436,

Dr. Deborah Mutnick, 718-488-1110,

For a PDF version of this information, click on PEER LEADER FAQ for Faculty Final


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This entry was posted on June 10, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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