Frequently Asked Questions About Study Groups

Q: What are Peer Led Study Groups?
A: Peer Led Study Groups are offered through the SLC as an option for outside-of-class learning for introductory level science courses. The groups, composed of no more than 13 students, meet weekly for two hours in the SLC or other designated areas. Students who have already successfully completed the course and who are trained in group facilitation and collaborative learning techniques serve as peer group facilitators. Study Group activities focus on engaging all of the group members in the learning process, and may involve collectively reviewing notes, working together to solve problems or critiquing each other's work. All students enrolled in the course are eligible to sign up for a Study Group.

Q: How do students register for Study Groups?
A: All registration is processed through an online registration system. Registration typically opens the second week of the term during fall and winter, and significantly earlier for spring and summer. Registration remains open throughout the term, although students are encouraged to register early as many groups meet the maximum member limit (13 students) soon after registration opens.

Q: How can I inform my students about the Study Group Program?
A: There a number of ways you can inform your students about the option of joining a Study Group:

  • Provide a link on your course web site to the SLC's main web page. 
  • Make an announcement about the Study Group program during class.
  • The SLC can provide you with slides that highlight important Study Group information, or we can send a program representative to speak briefly to your class about the groups. To request either option, e-mail slcstudygroups@umich.edu.
  • Inform your GSIs about the program and encourage them to make announcements in their discussion sections.
  • Refer students to the program during your office hour appointments.

Q: Do Course Instructors and Study Group Facilitators interact during the term?
A: We respect faculty time and therefore try to limit unnecessary contact between facilitators and course instructors. However, we do encourage instructors to interact with the facilitators, if they wish. For example, some instructors will hold a beginning of term meeting with all of the Study Group Facilitators for their course to provide an overview of the course and other important information about the term that may be useful. The Study Group Program staff may contact you throughout the term with important program information and may request your assistance in securing resources or obtaining access to your online materials for use by the Study Group Facilitators.

Q: Why do Study Group Facilitators need access to my course website or other online tools?
A: Facilitators are expected to promote small group learning and it is important for them to be current with the course content and have access to problem sets or required online exercises. This helps them be better prepared for group meetings. Often, facilitators will work through problems ahead of time so they can provide guidance to members as they work in small groups to solve the problems. Facilitators also gain more credibility if they are aware of what is currently happening in the course and can prepare activities ahead of time that are relevant to the members' current coursework.

Q: What courses are Study Groups offered for?
A: The groups vary by term, but are regularly offered for Biology 171, Biology 172, Biology 225, Biology 305, MCDB 310, Chemistry 130, Chemistry 210, Chemistry 215, Chemistry 230, Chemistry 260, Physics 135, Physics 140, Physics 235, Physics 240, and Biophysics 290. For a list of the courses supported with SLC study groups for the current term, see our Study Group webpage.

Q: How can I request a group if no groups are currently offered for my course?

A: To request a group for your course, please e-mail us at slcstudygroups@umich.edu. While the SLC would like to honor all group requests, it may not be possible in all cases. The Study Group Program Staff will evaluate your request and the feasibility of offering additional groups. It is ideal to request new groups before the start of the term, but requests will be accepted at any point in the term. Introductory level courses are generally given highest priority.

Q: Who facilitates the Study Groups?
A: Study group facilitators are undergraduate students who have successfully completed the course in a previous term who are trained in collaborative learning and facilitation techniques. Their primary responsibility is to help group members work together and learn from each other. Study group facilitators do not teach, tutor or lecture. Facilitators are hired at the beginning of each term and are members of the SLC staff.

Q: Who should join a Study Group?
A: All students enrolled in the course are eligible to enroll in a study group. Students of all ability levels are encouraged to join a study group. Study groups provide a great opportunity to have a set study time each week and the chance to work with peers to master course material. However, study groups may not be a fit for all students. Students should join a study group if they are interested in working each week with their peers, are willing to actively participate in meetings, and enjoy studying in a small group environment.

Q: Who should I contact if I have additional questions about the Study Group Program?
A: Send an e-mail to slcstudygroups@umich.edu and a member of the Study Group staff will respond to you as soon as possible.