CÉIM is an academic peer support scheme for 1st year students studying Engineering, BA Law and Geography. Groups of 1st years students meet weekly throughout the academic year with trained 2nd/3rd year Student Leaders. CÉIM sessions are student led and are about working in small groups to develop independent learning skills, gain a greater understanding of coursework, develop new skills, and meet people studying the same course.
Sessions focus on collaborative learning, and the format is generally quite different to lectures and tutorials. Students often comment on how CÉIM sessions are informal and friendly, yet focused. CÉIM was initiated by NUI Galway Students’ Union and was first piloted in collaboration with the College of Engineering & Informatics in September 2013. CÉIM was introduced by the School of Law in the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies during the 2015-2016 academic year, where it is being offered to 1st year BA Law students. CÉIM was further rolled out in the College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Celtic Studies in 2016/17, where it is being offered by the School of Geography and Archaeology to Geography students.
BACKGROUND AND IMPACT
CÉIM, which means ‘step’ or ‘degree’ in Irish, is a form of Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), also known as Peer Assisted Learning (PAL). It derives from the Supplemental Instruction model devised in the United States in 1973, which today can be found at over 1,500 universities and colleges in 29 countries. International research has consistently shown that PASS schemes deliver benefits for participants, Student Leaders and universities as a whole.
The research on CÉIM shows that regular CÉIM attendees are more likely to perform better academically and are less likely to considering dropping out than those who attend irregularly or not at all. 1st year students at NUI Galway also consistently report that CÉIM has helped them settle into university life and make friends.
Read an article on CÉIM published in the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education in late 2015. ‘From students to leaders: evaluating the impact on academic performance, satisfaction and student empowerment of a pilot PAL programme among first year students and second year leaders’.