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Students Teaching Students: A Pedagogical Experiment

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Student Learning and Research

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1041.1 - 8.1041.9

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Paper Authors

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Stanley Kieta

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Christopher Decock

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Gregory Dick

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Jerry Samples

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session Number 2150

Students Teaching Students: a Pedagogical Experiment

Gregory M. Dick, Stanley J. Kieta, Christopher A. Decock. Jerry W. Samples

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown


How do you fill a course and laboratory instructor vacancy on no notice? What happens when the Adjunct Professor cannot arrange a schedule for the laboratory portion of the course? Peer tutoring has been utilized for years in the sciences, math and humanities. Is it possible to use an upper-class student to assist in an engineering technology laboratory setting under the tutelage of a professor? This paper will address the process of using senior students in a digital electronics lab as the in-class arm of the adjunct. Comments on the process for selecting the students, coordination with the “charge” instructor, the thoughts of the instructor, the thoughts of the senior students and finally the impressions of the students in the class will be presented. The process is not a way to eliminate faculty. Rather it is an effort to provide the best education possible when an immediate need surfaces and to investigate a teaching option that may have value in addition to contributing to the solution of the “last minute resignation” dilemma.

Background: The Problem

August 2002 brought with it the usual set of last minute issues. Students needing to add or drop a class, transfer students needing help with a last minute schedule change. In addition, the unusual and the untimely resignation of a full time faculty member with classes scheduled to start in just a few weeks. The loss of twenty percent of a department on short notice is not a pleasant surprise, but one that must be resolved.

Current full time faculty were not able to absorb the entire teaching load, so a fast search for qualified adjuncts faculty was launched. The search was successful and all lecture courses were assigned to practicing engineers in the local area. However, a problem remained. Because of conflicts with his full time employment situation, the engineer assigned to teach Digital Electronics was unable to meet the lab at the scheduled time.

The problem – a laboratory with no instructor would need to be addressed quickly.

“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”

Kieta, S., & Decock, C., & Dick, G., & Samples, J. (2003, June), Students Teaching Students: A Pedagogical Experiment Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2003 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015