Title

Creation of an Undergraduate Peer Mentorship Program for First-Year Physics Labs

Standing

Undergraduate

Type of Proposal

Poster Presentation

Challenges Theme

Open Challenge

Your Location

University of Windsor

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Steven Rehse

Abstract/Description of Original Work

The Department of Physics is in the process of completely redeveloping First-Year Physics Laboratory delivery and assessment based on a very successful technology and pedagogical framework championed by the University of Illinois. As part of this new curriculum, a peer mentorship program will be created whereby past successful students in the course are engaged for credit in subsequent years to mentor the current students enrolled in the course. The peer-mentorship program is utilized to enhance the first-year student experience in the laboratory, and also to provide unique growth experiences for the peer-mentors. Also integral to this redevelopment is a program of ongoing assessment and evaluation by surveying students taking the labs. In this study, surveys with various questions on the quality of the lab, and whether or not students believe a peer mentor’s presence in the lab would have facilitated their learning, were administered to first-year students who had successfully completed a semester enrolled in a physics lab. Survey results were compiled, sorted, and analyzed. Information from journal articles, researchers at the University of Illinois, and faculty at the University of Windsor who have developed similar programs, was collected. All of this compiled information will be used during the development of a framework for a new peer-mentorship program to be initiated in the Fall of 2020 at the University of Windsor.

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Creation of an Undergraduate Peer Mentorship Program for First-Year Physics Labs

The Department of Physics is in the process of completely redeveloping First-Year Physics Laboratory delivery and assessment based on a very successful technology and pedagogical framework championed by the University of Illinois. As part of this new curriculum, a peer mentorship program will be created whereby past successful students in the course are engaged for credit in subsequent years to mentor the current students enrolled in the course. The peer-mentorship program is utilized to enhance the first-year student experience in the laboratory, and also to provide unique growth experiences for the peer-mentors. Also integral to this redevelopment is a program of ongoing assessment and evaluation by surveying students taking the labs. In this study, surveys with various questions on the quality of the lab, and whether or not students believe a peer mentor’s presence in the lab would have facilitated their learning, were administered to first-year students who had successfully completed a semester enrolled in a physics lab. Survey results were compiled, sorted, and analyzed. Information from journal articles, researchers at the University of Illinois, and faculty at the University of Windsor who have developed similar programs, was collected. All of this compiled information will be used during the development of a framework for a new peer-mentorship program to be initiated in the Fall of 2020 at the University of Windsor.