Between sessions, assigned homework includes reading scholarly articles, completing self-inventories of learning
strategies and emotional intelligence, practicing code reviews,
shadowing a current mentor, completing a “mock one-on-one”
10-minute feedback conversation with a classmate, writing
self-reflections, and creating an active learning lesson plan.
During class, the three-hour block of time is split into shorter activities. For example, the objectives of Session 4 are: a) to
continue to gain competence and confidence in practical code
review skills; b) to reflect on one’s own assumptions and biases;
c) to reflect on and understand the complexities of diversity,
inclusion, and climate in a technical setting and to be able to
apply this when interacting with students and providing feedback. To help achieve these objectives, Session 4 is broken into
the following activities.
• Code review activity: With their code reviews completed
prior to class, students compare with a partner, imagining
they are CS1 students, thinking about how it feels to receive
the written feedback. The exercise is discussed as a class,
with respect to both technical content and style of feedback.
• Writing activity: A three-sentence description of a
hypothetical CS1 student is presented to the students, who
are then given the following free-writing prompt: what
gy and education who has research expertise in motivation,
identity, and mentoring. While the structure of the mentorship
responsibilities is informed by successful peer education pro-
grams at Mount Holyoke and at other institutions, we believe
the MaGE curriculum for preparing students to become com-
puter science peer mentors is novel in its emphasis on diversity,
inclusion, and the role of social identity in learning.
The MaGE Training course site [ 3] has complete lesson
plans and materials for use by educators and students; Figure
3 shows the landing page. These materials and adaptations of
them are currently in use at other institutions, including small
colleges and large universities. An excerpt from a Mount Holyoke student’s written reflection upon completion of the training
course is shown below.
“I believe one’s path to becoming an inclusive peer mentor
should start from self-reflection. Ask yourself questions such
as, “What impact do my own culturally-bound assumptions have on my interactions with my mentees? How might
the background and experiences of my mentees influence
their motivation, participation, and learning? How would I
modify one-on-one meetings to make them more accessible
to all students?” Reflecting on assumptions that we made
about hypothetical students was a particularly beneficial
exercise: unfortunately, everyone is vulnerable to making
assumptions about others, but one needs to be fully aware
of these assumptions in order to prevent them from affecting
his/her behavior. ” —Mount Holyoke trained peer mentor
STRUCTURE OF THE MaGE TRAINING COURSE
We teach the MaGE training course at Mount Holyoke as a
half-semester seminar-style course, meeting weekly for seven
three-hour sessions. Students receive two course credits for
MaGE Training (half the credits of a typical Mount Holyoke
course). The core modules of the course and their interdepen-dencies are shown in Figure 4. Practice code review activities
are spread across several modules because code review is one
of the primary responsibilities of peer mentors and it is a new
skill for nearly all students.
Figure 3: MaGE Training course landing page.
Figure 4: Dependencies among modules in the MaGE Training course.