Western Governors University Adds Peer-to-Peer Support to Competency-Based Courses – Campus Technology

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Western Governors University adds peer-to-peer support to competency-based courses

Western Governors University College of Information Technology adopted the InScribe digital community platform to integrate a peer-to-peer support model into its competency-based courses. Students access their digital communities via a “need help” link in every activity in WGU’s digital curriculum, allowing them to connect with colleagues and faculty, ask questions, find information, and share ideas anytime, anywhere. You can also see which questions and comments have already been posted on a specific topic.

The InScribe platform allows WGU to remove “time and location constraints” for students seeking support, the company said. This flexibility is especially important for self-paced learners: “Students can seek peer help anywhere, anytime, especially after hours when faculty may not be available for students still working on early concepts.”

“Not only do our students learn at their own pace, but our programs require some fairly complex interactions. We needed a support model that would allow students to collaborate effectively and tackle these notoriously complicated concepts,” added Mike Peterson, associate dean and director of computer science and software at WGU, in a statement. “With InScribe, we’re building the sense of community our online students crave, while giving them the tools they need to deepen their knowledge and problem-solve together. InScribe’s platform is agile, it works with us and not against us. Information is easily shareable and searchable, and we can better track everything that is posted.”

In a pilot of the InScribe platform in the College of Information Technology’s Bachelor of Science in Computer Science program, WGU found that peer support “decreased the time to respond and increased learning,” according to a press release. “Learning occurs not only within each class, but also within each community,” said Peterson. “We see that students really want to help each other. They’re quick to respond, and the contributions are thoughtful, diverse, and well-rounded.” The College of Information Technology now plans to expand its use of digital communities to a larger student population.

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“Traditional support mechanisms can limit students’ ability to get the help they need, when they need it, regardless of the time of day or where they are within the curriculum,” commented Katy Kappler, CEO of InScribe. “WGU’s vision to create a digital community that emphasizes active and ongoing peer-to-peer support encourages students to interact and engage more deeply. Even as learners move through the material at different paces, they know they have a team of people who can count on you to help them understand and master the curriculum.”

About the author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is the Editor-in-Chief of Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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