Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL)

Tutoring and Academic Support Services (TASS) offers UB's Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) program, sometimes known as Supplemental Instruction, is a peer-facilitated learning enhancement model designed to impact the way undergraduate students learn difficult content in specific courses.

About the PAL Program

PAL leaders are connected to a course section to provide students in those courses with a systematic and structured approach to processing the course material assigned by the instructor. During PAL leader sessions, students work together to gain a deeper understanding of course content. The environment is informal, and students are encouraged to discuss course content and share study strategies. 

About PAL Leaders

PAL leaders are recommended by the professor, have done well in the course and have undergone extensive PAL program training to plan effective sessions. PAL leaders attend the class to keep up with the course content and model effective student practices and attitudes. During a PAL session, the leader engages the student using interactive learning strategies, which encourage involvement, comprehension and synthesis of subject content. 

PAL leaders do:

  • Facilitate two one-hour review sessions outside of class time.
  • Actively participate in class. They can participate in several ways such as: helping answer student questions, demonstrating concepts, providing input during lecture, etc. The PAL leader will consult with faculty to determine the best way to support the class.
  • Communicate regularly regarding sessions. This can happen via email or by scheduling regular meetings—whatever works best for you!

PAL leaders don't:

  • Grade assignments.
  • Re-lecture material.
  • Introduce new material.

PAL leaders are recommended by the professor, have done well in the course and have undergone extensive PAL program training to plan effective sessions. PAL leaders attend the class to keep up with the course content and model effective student practices and attitudes. During a PAL session, the leader engages the student using interactive learning strategies, which encourage involvement, comprehension and synthesis of subject content. 

PAL leaders do:

  • Facilitate two one-hour review sessions outside of class time.
  • Actively participate in class. They can participate in several ways such as: helping answer student questions, demonstrating concepts, providing input during lecture, etc. The PAL leader will consult with faculty to determine the best way to support the class.
  • Communicate regularly regarding sessions. This can happen via email or by scheduling regular meetings—whatever works best for you!

PAL leaders don't:

  • Grade assignments.
  • Re-lecture material.
  • Introduce new material.

Information for Students, Faculty and Leaders

Student Faculty Leaders

Faculty

Participation in PAL sessions will help your students prepare for tests and quizzes, more importantly it will reinforce the material you are discussing in classes in a fun, informal and interactive way. 

The PAL program is designed to improve the ways in which students prepare for their courses outside of the classroom. PAL will assign leaders to designated courses/sections. The PAL leader will then schedule and facilitate two one-hour review sessions for the students in those sections at a time outside of class. During these sessions, the leaders will use active learning strategies that encourage involvement, comprehension and synthesis of subject content.

Providing information about the PAL program in your syllabus is a great way to boost participation in PAL sessions. Below is a sample statement about the program for inclusion in your syllabus:

The PAL program is a series of weekly review sessions designed to help students succeed in their academic pursuits. PAL is provided for ALL students who want to improve their understanding of course material and improve their grades.

The sessions offers a chance to meet with classmates to compare notes, discuss important concepts, develop strategies for studying and a chance to test yourself before quizzes and exams. At each session, you will be guided through the materials by your PAL leader, a student who has previously taken the course and done well.

Each week, your PAL leader will conduct two one-hour study sessions. You may attend any session offered by the PAL leader assigned to your course and section. Session times and locations can be found under the PAL section on the home page of the TASS website.

Faculty Frequently Asked Questions