Access & International Foundation ‘Peer Learning Programme’ Receives Funding To Move Online

10 Dec, 2020

The School of Hospitality Management & Tourism has secured funding to move a Peer Learning Coding Programme for Access and International Foundation students online for 2021.

The Access and International Foundation Programmes have been running a structured Peer Assisted Coding programme for students since 2017, and they plan to move it online in January 2021.

These peer-led tutorials are subject-focused support sessions that work in conjunction with the lectures. They are facilitated by former Access and International Students who are trained as Peer Leaders. Sessions run twice a week and offer a relaxed social environment for students to learn with and from each other, and feedback from past years has provided strong evidence to show they improve learning, build learner confidence, and help students acculturate to college life.

With support from Dominic Dillane, Head, School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, other staff from the school and with funding from the TU Dublin Foundation, the Access programme team have been working with our Access Students to migrate these peer learning sessions into a fully interactive and immersive online space by equipping the Peer Leaders with the technology needed to offer students the best virtual learning environment possible.

As the recent move to online learning has exacerbated the feelings of isolation felt by students, these sessions will be even more essential in 2021, in helping students not only with their understanding of the course material but also offer them a much-needed opportunity to socialise and share a support network that will continue to help them as they progress to their undergraduate programme.

The additional technology will also greatly improve the inclusion aspects of these peer support sessions, allowing students with disabilities to better engage and learn with each other online. In addition to supporting Computer Coding students with peer learning, the Access and International Foundation Programme will be piloting parallel weekly Peer-Assisted Learning maths support session for our students to help progression and build support networks across that subject as well."

Students of the Access and International Foundation Programmes discuss their success.

“I’m a lot more confident now, and I didn’t even think I was going to pass.”

“I definitely think that it will impact my grades definitely because I feel more confident about being able to write code now.”

“It’s like I build up the confidence by knowing that I can explain it.”

“Some of the other students would know more than I would, so you’re not just learning from the Peer Leaders, you’re hearing from the other students too.”

“I felt like my voice was heard more in the Peer Assisted Coding sessions than in class and other modules.”

“Because we were able to have a laugh as well as we were doing it, which was really beneficial.”

“We all know where we started, and the Peer Leaders started off the same place we did.”

Peer Leader also share what they learned from the module.

“Feeling like in some small way you contributed to bettering somebody else’s life is probably one of the most rewarding feelings I think you can get”

“And then you see how much students change and develop by the end of the term, and when they attribute any aspect of that to you and the help that you gave them that being rewarded… I mean I guess you would associate that with quality of life, that sense of satisfaction in what you’re doing.”