Scaling up at your Institution

Recommendations for Adaptation

Here, we highlight a few common use cases as you consider adaptation.

One-day bootcamp for teaching assistants (any STEM field)

Teaching assistants (students who hold drop in hours for other students to come ask questions and get help on assignments) should create an inclusive environment, serve as an effective mirror or coach, and provide effective in-person feedback.

This type of bootcamp should combine small group discussions and activities to help students quickly absorb the concepts. A reflection, drawing on the reflection prompts from the training course, could also be given after the bootcamp to aid in retention and critical thinking about the topics. A suggested sequence, broken down by topic (topics in red can be removed for additional time):


Blended or Online Training

One solution is to have peer mentors complete most, if not all, of the training online. Each of the lessons in the training is already built with pre-readings, activities, and post-reflections. It is possible to ask peer mentors to complete readings online, to assign students to identifying partners in their own vicinities to complete exercises, and leverage an online discussion board to provide spaces for questions and feedback. This approach could work well with one-day in-person kick-off, which draws upon the individualized preparation, and focuses on key messages and practicing skills, with a mid-semester staff meeting to fine-tune based on any trends peer mentors are noticing in their work.

Non-CS STEM field or CS without technical feedback

Given the need for diverse and inclusive environments in all STEM fields, the majority of the program remains the same, with the exception of peer code review.

To adapt this program to another STEM field, you may consider the following options. 

First, strip out the technical feedback portions of the course that focus on peer code review. This will also work for computer science programs that do not plan on requiring their peer mentors to do code review. To accomplish this remove the code review activities from Sessions 2, 3, and 4. These are discussion heavy sessions; we recommend maintaining the three session sequence.

Second, replace the peer code review with a field-specific technical portion. Perhaps your peer mentors will be required to grade problem sets and this time could be used to guide them in proper methodology.

Third, the active learning component could be removed, depending on the STEM field and the eventual duties of your peer mentors. Alternatively shorter active learning exercises could be incorporated into class time.

Peer Mentor Coordinator and/or Teaching & Learning Center

Most programs, when training 30-50 peer mentors (or more), will require a peer mentor coordinator who coordinates schedules, offers the training, liaisons with the faculty, and provides on-going support to the peer mentors. This coordination could be provided, in some instances, by the Teaching & Learning Center at your institution or through an integrated STEM mentoring coordinator cosponsored across STEM departments.