I am Mareike and I am a second year Events Management student at QMU. I have been a Peer Assisted Learning Scheme (PALS) leader for a semester and a bit.

I was very involved in PALs in the last year. I was the main leader for one module and co-leader for another in the first Semester. In Semester 2, I was involved in PALS sessions from three modules, holding one PALS session minimum each week.

PALS assisted my development in two aspects, online presence and presenting, and resilience. The first aspect is online presence and presenting. I am combining these because I believe they are dependent on each other. Without an assuring online presence, which is defined over technological knowhow, speech and body language in my opinion, the online presenting suffers. Due to PALS, I had the chance to practise and try out certain features of different online programmes, such as Collaborate, Teams, Panopto, Kahoot and PollEv. I needed to get to know these programmes, since I wanted to hold a comfortable PALS session. PALS also gave me an indication how to speak and move on camera/ online. I realised that, due to connection issues, it might be necessary to speak more slowly and that the only thing that is visible of me is what the camera picks up.

This leads to another point of my online presenting; I was able to visit three different conferences this academic year through PALS. All of them gave me a new perspective on PALS and its different forms as well as giving me an opportunity to further hone my presenting skills in front of a more mixed and international audience. This semester I also had two assignments where I was able to use my skills that I developed through engaging with PALS.

The second aspect I developed is resilience or adaptability. I was not able to return to Scotland in the second semester and that really disrupted my learning schedule. Since I was not in the environment that I was used to learning in, I had to find new solutions to keep me grounded. Especially in the beginning of the semester, planning and conducting PALS session gave me a structure, that I could hold on to. Furthermore, the different PALS sessions which I planned with different leaders forced me to carefully plan my weeks in advance, which further supported me in creating strategies for my learning. While I am used to plan in advance and I am quite structured already, PALS further drove me to build new structures in the face of change.

 

Published 2021