Case Studies:

The PASS Team at 301 are currently working in partnership with 7 Academic Departments across 3 Faculties to implement PASS schemes. In 2016/17 we have:

  • 76 trained PASS Leaders
  • 6 student PASS Leader Coordinators providing student leadership and organisational support to the PASS schemes
  • PASS sessions available to over 900 students each week

Each PASS scheme uses the same core PASS model with local adaptation to the requirements of the department/programme/module:

PASS in Biomedical Sciences - BMS109

Scheme overview

During the 2015-16 academic year, a successful PASS pilot programme was delivered within the BMS109 1st year module. This scheme is a partnership project between 301 Student Skills and Development Centre and the Department of Biomedical Science, involving both academic staff and centrally-based professional support staff. However at the heart of the scheme is a team of 18 trained 2nd year Biomedical Science student volunteers.

The team of PASS Leaders were recruited from the 2nd year cohort of Biomedical Science students who had successfully completed the BMS109 module. The PASS Leaders took part in an in-depth induction training programme at 301 during September/October 2015 - specifically designed to develop their facilitation skills - before the volunteers were then allocated a group of 1st year PASS group participants by their Module Leader.

 BMS PASS Leaders

 PASS Activity 1

How does it work?

The BMS PASS Leaders work in pairs to plan, organise and deliver weekly 50 minutes sessions, and they were supported on an ongoing basis at fortnightly debrief sessions by the Module Leader and 301 staff. The PASS Leaders were responsible not only the content of their sessions, but also for their organisation and scheduling - this was a new departure from the initial engineering pilot, and seems to have worked very well.

The PASS sessions are not designed to introduce new materials, but are to enable participants to consolidate learning. PASS uses a structured approach to sessions. Each session begins with an agenda setting activity where a participants are able to agree the topics for discussion. Leaders will then facilitate a short series of activities which could be games, quizzes, discussions, timelines - followed by a closing review activity.
PASS Leaders are encouraged to share activities with each other during debrief sessions and via the PASS Leader MOLE (My Online Learning Environment) site.

This year in BMS, it has ranged from interactive digital quizzes to jigsaw style activities - serving as tools to consolidate learning and deepen understanding.

One team of BMS PASS Leaders developed a pyramid activity, which they shared with other leaders via MOLE.

The triangle was cut into small pieces, which were in turn handed to PASS participants working in pairs in order to re-assemble the triangle and solve the puzzle.

What do participants, PASS Leaders and Module Leaders say about BMS PASS?

There is lots of enthusiasm for PASS in the department - a high number of students applied to become PASS Leaders in the pilot year, and there were very low levels of drop out (none after induction training). There are regular participant attenders at each session who have given very positive feedback.

The initial recruitment process for 2016/17 has already received 42 applications for the role of PASS Leader, with many applicants stating their own positive experience as a PASS participant as a major motivation for applying.

The fortnightly debriefs also provide the Module Leader with timely, anonymous and relevant feedback from the PASS Leaders about the current experience of the 1st year students. This enables the Module Leader to quickly respond to this feedback, as necessary.

What the PASS Participants say:

•"It’s all over a great idea. The ability to talk to 2nd years about what’s coming up and their experience in the 1st year is amazingly helpful."
•"It’s great to be with people who have already been through specific events - helps you be less anxious about them. Moreover they can suggest which things are more important in 1st year - and what will be needed for later years."
•"I like being in a smaller learning environment and being able to ask lots of questions."
•"It has relaxed me and made me more confident that I am capable of achieving good grades."
•"I really enjoy the learning environment as we can all ask questions on things we don’t understand and they tailor the sessions to what we want help with."
•"Thank you for all your help and I appreciate all your effort!"

What the PASS Leaders say:

•"Really building my confidence in a leadership role, gaining a lot of transferable skills that will be useful to me in the future."
•"I’ve met new people on my course and have become much more organised as a result of being a PASS Leader."
•"I have also really enjoyed getting to know my team of PASS Leaders. We have helped each other with our own academic studies."
•"How we can develop our own skills through helping others, it’s also a nice challenge to come up with different activities and makes a good break from normal university work."
•"Giving help and making friends with new students, while deepening my knowledge on the module."
•"Everyone at 301 has been very helpful and made being a PASS Leader enjoyable!"

What do staff say:

•"This is a win-win scheme. The PASS Leaders gain invaluable experience and develop before our eyes; the Level 1 participants have extra help from students who have recently and successfully passed the year; why wouldn’t you get involved?" Martin Cambray-Deakin Level 1 Tutor BMS.
•"We are so pleased with the success of this pilot year of PASS in Biomedical Science. The commitment and enthusiasm shown by both the academic staff and the volunteer PASS Leaders has been impressive, and we are now looking forward to working alongside these experienced PASS Leaders to support our next group of volunteers in 2016/17." Jayne Evans, Peer Learning Co-ordinator, 301 Student Skills and Development Centre

PASS in Aerospace Engineering MEC194

Scheme overview

The MEC194 scheme completed the 2nd year of its pilot phase in 2015-16, and it continues to grow and develop. PASS Leaders are recruited from the 2nd and 3rd year Aerospace Engineering students who have successfully completed the MEC194 (or equivalent) module. The PASS Leaders take part in an in-depth induction training programme at 301, designed to develop facilitation skills, before the volunteers are allocated a group of potential 1st year PASS group participants.

How does it work?

The PASS Leaders work in pairs to plan, organise and deliver timetabled weekly sessions, and they are supported on an ongoing fortnightly basis at debrief sessions by the Module Leader and 301 staff. The scheme also has an experienced PASS Leader who co-ordinates the volunteers on a weekly basis. There is lots of enthusiasm for PASS in the department - it is notable that high numbers of students apply to become PASS Leaders. They often cite that it is their own experience as a PASS participant that has influenced their decision to become a PASS Leader. There are regular attenders at each session who have given very positive feedback.

It can be difficult at times to manage the complexities of three very busy cohorts of students and their timetables - finding a convenient space and time when 1st, 2nd and 3rd years can all meet can be a challenge. The timing and location of the session can have a direct impact on session attendance.

What do participants and PASS Leaders say about MEC194 PASS?

What did the participants say?

  • The sessions are quite informal and the leaders give us hints and tips about the course as a whole - they are easy to engage with.
  • It's easy to relate to those in years above that have already done the module.
  • the pass leaders are really helpful and and it's a good opportunity to learn what you need to improve

What did the PASS Leaders say?

  • The current training is great, with wide range of useful materials.
  • It’s a nice challenge to come up with different activities and it makes a good break from normal university work.
  • I enjoy getting to help and make friends with new students, while deepening my knowledge on the module.