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Students wishing to become Peer Coaches may participate in the program by enrolling in a PRACTICUM course (see description below).  This course can be taken for 1, 2 or 4 credits at the advanced level.

Students wishing to take the PRACTICUM must be eligible to participate in the Peer Coaching Program offered at and by the Northeast Center. Click this link to see the requirements to becoming a Peer Coach.





A practicum is a credit bearing study that gives students both theoretical and practical experience in the field of learning assistance and adult learning.  Anyone interested in the practicum should obtain approval from their mentor before they enroll in the study as an independent study with the Director of Academic Support (Lisa D'Adamo-Weinstein) and pay for it as they would any other credit bearing course at the college.  Students can earn 2-4 credits as part of their college level degree program and will also receive all of the general benefits listed below.



  •  Peer Coaches who wish to receive practicum credits (2 or 4 credits) must have mentor approval, register and pay for the credits, and follow all of the requirements listed in the practicum learning contract/syllabus.
  • Peer Coach must have active participation in peer coaching activities during the term of enrollment totaling 100-140 hours for 4 credits or 50-70 Hours for 2 credits. Specific activities are discussed and developed during the practicum and some examples are described in the learning contract/syllabus.
  • Peer Coaches earning practicum credits are expected to write two essays discussing the theories they learned about and their involvement in the Peer Coaching program.









The Theory and Practice of Learning: Learning Assistance and Academic Support for Post-Secondary Learners

All credit levels, Advanced, Liberal, Educational Studies


A. PURPOSE - The purpose of this practicum is for students to develop a theoretical grounding in the field of learning assistance and to engage in practical applications for teaching/training postsecondary learners. Students in the practicum will learn about the scholarship and best practices of college level learning assistance and academic support by reading about and engaging in discussion of academic literature on appropriate theories of adult learning, student engagement, academic skills development, and learning center pedagogy.  They will also engage in hands-on practice in assisting college level learners in enhancing general study skills, tutoring in specific content areas, navigating through college resources, and/or developing study strategies and resources within specific Areas of Study or general learning skills development. 


B. LEARNING OUTCOMES - The learning outcomes for this course span the range of hands-on experiences to more theoretical understandings of adult learning. Upon completion of this study, students should be able to:

* discuss and analyze theories of adult learning and coaching/tutoring;

* engage in college level research through our library system and Internet searches;

* evaluate the quality of engagement with students in individual and/or group meetings as a peer coach; and

* reflect upon their peer coaching experiences in an analytical and practical manner.



Most of the work for this study will occur as part of the student’s work as a peer coach.  The ten hours of training that all peer coaches undertake is a part of the initial theoretical and practical foundations of the study and should be completed before engaging in other learning activities of this practicum. 

There are THREE CATEGORIES of learning activities:



The amount of time spent over the course of the term should range between at total of

100-140 hours for 4 credits,

75-100 hours for 3 credits,

50-70 Hours for 2 credits,

25-35 hours for 1 credit. 


These hours include peer coach training, meeting with the course instructor, and working with students or on specific academic support projects. Scheduling of the bulk of these hours is determined between the student and the Peer Coaching Program Coordinator and/or practicum instructor.


The first 10 hours of this time commitment are derived from the official Peer Coach training (outlined @ http://www.peercoaches.pbwiki.com)


Additionally, five to ten of the remaining hours should be spent in individual meetings with the course instructor to discuss the readings for the study.  A specific schedule will be developed between the instructor and the student after the student completes the 10 hours of training.


The remaining hours should be dedicated to specific engagements focusing on the all aspects of academic skills counseling including preparation, evaluation, and conducting individual and group support in face-to-face and virtual environments.  These engagements will range from observation to active participation.



From the list below, pick 1 of the books to read and incorporate into your written essays for the study (the instructor will lend you a copy if you cannot get one on your own): 

· Hodges, R. & Agee. K (2012) The Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors. College Reading and Learning Association ISBN-13: 978-1133769446  

· Lipsky, S. (2011). A Training Guide for College Tutors and Peer Educators. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson.


Any additional required and supplemental readings and course materials will be available via the instructor or online at http://www.peercoaches.pbwiki.com  (Please Note – the instructor updates the site each term in consultation with the practicum students and students in the practicum may be asked to add some of their work to the wiki).



Two formal written essays of 8-10 pages are required for this study:


Theory Essay – This essay should be grounded in the literature and should include critical theoretical analysis of assigned readings and/or relevant research. The essay should explore research, theories and practices gained from course materials, independent research, discussions with the instructor, and experiences at the practicum site. The essay can be a combination of a literature review that includes relevant examples from the practicum experience or it can solely be about the areas of interest the student has in the literature and research. The student should plan to hand this essay in around the midpoint of the term. 


Practice Essay - One essay should be reflective in nature and articulate the specific experiences at the practicum site as well as the knowledge and skills gained during the practicum.  This essay should be handed in at the end of the term as a reflective piece and to document the entire practicum experience.



Evaluation will be based on the quality of the work performed in the peer coaching setting, engagement with the course instructor, and on the quality of the two essays. All written work is expected to be at the college level with an analytical component, and the hands on work at the will be evaluated according to local best practices and College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) standards.


Student will be evaluated on the completion of all assignments and engagement in the learning process.  Evaluation will be based on the student’s ability to demonstrate a clear understanding of the assigned and researched materials.  All verbal and written activities will be evaluated by the instructor for their scope, content, and clarity of ideas.  Both written and verbal ideas must be focused and fully developed in order to achieve advanced level credit.  Students must demonstrate an ability to research using web-based and library resources.

Students are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic integrity. All work for this study must be originally created by the student for this study. 


You are not permitted to use the work of someone else or to hand in work that you created for another study or course. All Empire State College students are required to adhere to the Empire State College Policy for Academic Integrity. Failure to do so may result in the receipt of a “No Credit” outcome for this study. For more information on academic integrity, visit www.esc.edu/academicintegrity.



Expectations of the Student:  


ATTENDANCE at all study group meetings and scheduled appointments are essential to your learning and to receiving full credit for the study.


DEADLINES - Students cannot submit all work at once near or at the end of the term.   Students must show consistent engagement in the study throughout the term and must follow deadlines.


HOW TO SUBMIT WORK - All written work will be completed using APA format for citations and references, and should be word processed, double-spaced with 1" margins on all sides and use 12 pt. font. If using a program other than MSWord, please submit your assignments in RTF format. Provisions for late submissions due to extenuating circumstances must be made in advance with the instructor's approval prior to the due date. However, without prior approval all assignments submitted late will be marked down.


IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY – Contact me as early as possible if there is a situation that arises that will not allow you to meet one of the course requirements. We will try to work through an equitable solution.


Expectations of the Instructor:  

FEEDBACK ON YOUR WORK - I will provide timely written feedback via email and/or printed materials handed back during individual appointments. Generally, assignments will be graded within a week and prior to the next assignment submission. Research papers and projects will take longer to grade and return.


GRADING OF ASSIGNMENTS - All assignments will be graded based on the percentages listed above in the assignments section.


In addition, I will be looking for the following in your written work:

Indicates an accurate understanding of the topic and fully satisfies all content areas of the assignment:  80%

Exhibits correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, APA formatting, and thorough research as required: 10%

Submitted on time per the course schedule: 10%


COMMUNICATION – Outside of scheduled appointments, email is the best way to set up an appointment for any additional phone or in person meeting to discuss the study or any related issues. I am happy to meet with you more often than is required by the study to assist you with your work or learning.




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