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Dear : Kirsten:
You asked  about establishing a peer tutoring program at USNA

>1)  How do we go about comparing peer tutorial programs to find the best fit
for USNA?>
You'll need to customize your tutoring program to fit the culture of the Academy
just as Eric did when he wrote the study skills book for midshipman. You can
find models at some of the most selective engineering schools but remember that
many of the best have incorporated collaborative learning , Classroom Assessment
Techniques (Angelo and Cross -Jossey Bass, 1993) and other new teaching
strategies in to their classes. which I doubt have made much headway at the
Academy.

<We have looked into two "classes" of peer tutorial programs, which I can
summarize as SI and "not SI". However, class size for the "high risk courses" at
USNA is limited to 24, so students are invariably on different schedules,
learning different topics, etc., which might rule out the SI model of a peer
tutor being assigned to each class.  We have considered   the drop-in tutorial
model that has been discussed lately on this listserv as maybe a good beginning
point.>

You can arrange regular scheduled appointments for those who want and need it as
well as drop-in. BUT what ever you do , DON'T limit your tutoring service to the
high risk students. Certainly they should be given priority, but limiting it to
the weakest doesn't help them and stigmatizes the program. The students who need
it the most won't volunteer without extra incentives which is where your
advisers, counselors, etc. come in. Other students need and can profit from
tutoring as well.

Visit Rutgers and/or some of the other excellent drop-in centers and observe how
they work.

2)  How can we compensate tutors?  Unlike most universities, USNA cannot pay
students for their time.  Are there programs out   there that do not pay tutors
but give other compensations?>

  Many programs don't pay tutors - they may give them credit (if you have course
credits for social or community service or I could see a good tutor training
course qualifying as a leadership course .. better than some of the ones I've
read about.

I'm working on an article about the many benefits of being a tutor - Among other
things it helps them confirm their career choices, improve their knowledge and
understanding of their subject, and increase their scores on graduate and
professional tests,
s well improving their communication skills and enhancing their confidence. Also
they get satisfaction in successfully helping others. Tutors bond and should be
encouraged to do so - e.g., at Berkeley the writing tutors organized their own
alumni associ
ion and tutors generally report that the tutoring course and experience was one
of the most valuable experiences of their undergraduate years.

MIT doesn't pay its on-line tutors. They consider it an honor to be selected as
an OL tutor.  There are other perks you can use, depending on what works in your
school - i.e., sweatshirts, medals, other privileges unique to
your college (we used things like giving them early registration privileges.) .

3)  How do we convince others that peer tutorial is a net benefit  for the
university community?  There is some resistance here to the idea of tutorial of
any kind, and there is additional resistance to the idea of students helping
students, for SOME of the faculty/military staff believe that the cheating
scandal of a few years back is a direct result of too much collaboration between
students.>

See comments on benefits above. Certainly faculty won't be averse to their
students expanding and deepening their knowledge. However, you'll find that some
faculty will object to tutoring as cheating etc., at any college.You'll need to
work to dispel these negative attitudes by involving faculty in  rcommending
prospective tutors, participating in their training program and in their
performance evaluations and continually educating them to what your program is
doing.

It is essential that undergraduate tutors be carefully screened. selected.
trained and supervised. Well meaning, but untrained tutors can do more harm than
good. They can intimidate students, cause them to becomedependent on tutoring by
doing students' homework for them, etc

Also, studies on naturalistic tutoring by untrained tutors report that the most
important  components of normal tutoring consist of collaborative problem
solving, question answering and explanatory reasoning in the context of specific
examples. ...
What seems to make the difference in whether students learn is the informal
conversational dialogues between tutors and students However, the researchers
also found that other components of successful learning are virtually
non-existent in normal tutoring. Miing are active student learning, sophisticate
pedagogical strategies, convergence toward shared meaning, feedback, error
diagnosis, and remediation, and concern with affect,etc.,. Tutors need to be
trained in these skills.

If you don't have a copy of the tutor bibliography I've been posting on LRNASST,
write me.
Martha Maxwell. e.mail [log in to unmask] com