Publication Details

Woolrych, T., Zaccagnini, M., Stephens, M., Stace, M., Middleton, R., Bergner, M., O'Sullivan, S. & Verma, R. (2020). Into the Online Space: Outcomes for a PASS Online Pilot Across Different First Year University Subjects. Advances in Science, Technology and Engineering Systems Journal, 5 (1), 142-150.


Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) is a student let program designed to support students transitioning into university and tackling traditionally difficult first year core subjects. The model is collaborative with student leaders facilitating activities and discussions driven by student need. Consistently research has found that students can benefit, in terms of increased grades, from attending PASS, however findings for online delivery modes are mixed. These studies have generally only compared face to face (F2F) with online modes of PASS-like programs for one subject. No study has compared different subjects from varying disciplines to investigate if the benefits of PASS online are the same for all students. PASS at UOW conducted a pilot study of synchronous online sessions, tested across three different first year university subjects. A total of 1.471 students enrolled into these subjects, with 409 attending some form of PASS. Result revealed PASS students gained significantly higher average final marks compared to students who did not attend any type of PASS, regardless off subject. However, results for PASS varied depending upon mode of delivery engaged in (F2F or online) and also with subject. Although not all differences were statistically significant, trends suggest a student/subject interaction that may vary the amount of benefit gained from PASS online formats. Possible drivers for these results are discussed as well as consideration given to cohort effects and student skills for online learning modes.



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