Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL)

PLTL is an optional program offered to all Introductory Physics students. PLTL students are placed into a study group that meets for two hours on Saturday, Sunday or Monday throughout the semester. Group members work through a problem set designed to require a collaborative effort, to help develop critical thinking skills and to hone advanced problem-solving abilities. These groups are facilitated by a trained undergraduate peer leader, who guides and encourages the group through the learning process.

It is our goal to develop independent, creative, analytical, and critical thinkers. With these goals in mind, our sequence is designed in such as a way as to place emphasis on critical-thinking skills and problem-solving methods. This program will assist you not only in mastering the course material, but in learning the value of group discussion, team work, and peer review in furthering one’s own knowledge. You will learn different methods of group work, critical-thinking skills, and study strategies. No answer keys are provided; you must decide as a group whether answers are reasonable and correct. However, your group will never leave thinking a wrong answer is correct. This strategy enables you to be confident when applying your knowledge and understanding to new problems and concepts but allows for necessary error correction. This confidence and error correction is essential for performing well on quizzes and exams, as well as in any career you might choose to pursue. The PLTL program provides a supportive community of scholars and emphasizes taking responsibility for your own learning.

Even if you are not a part of a PLTL study group, the problem sets will still be made available to all students on their course Canvas page at the start of the last PLTL session of every week. You’re encouraged to form your own independent study groups and work through the problems for extra practice.

If you have questions about the PLTL program, please contact the Physics PLTL coordinator via e-mail (pltl@physics.wustl.edu).

Apply Here

The online application process for Spring 2020 will be discussed during the first lecture of Physics 192. It will open at 5 pm on Monday, January 13. Students who sign up for PLTL by Friday, January 17 at 5 pm will be prioritized for placement in a Physics PLTL study group. Students who apply after this date will be placed on a wait list.

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Physics PLTL Policies

Attendance
Students are permitted to miss two sessions of Physics PLTL per semester. All absences are treated equally, and there are no excused absences. Three absences will result in unenrollment from Physics PLTL. Students who arrive at their sessions 15 or more minutes late, or leave their sessions 15 or more minutes early, will be counted as absent from their sessions. There are no make-up PLTL sessions.

First Session
Each student must attend their first scheduled Physics PLTL session to remain enrolled in Physics PLTL. If a student is unable to attend their first scheduled session, they must contact the Physics PLTL coordinator (not just their PLTL leader) to provide notice of their absence. Such an absence, even with notification, will still count toward their two permissible absences.

Change Session Requests
If a student believes that, for any reason, they will be absent for two or more of their currently scheduled session times, then they are encouraged to submit a request for a different session time. These requests are attended to in the order in which they are received, but reassignment depends strictly on availability at the times requested.

Preparation
PLTL is not a replacement for independent studying, but an opportunity to deepen students’ understanding of their course material. As such, students are expected to come to PLTL sessions prepared to actively contribute to their study groups. Prior to attending their PLTL sessions, students should listen attentively during their lecture courses, make serious attempts to work independently through their course homework assignments, and read the relevant sections of their textbooks.

PLTL Credit
Students will earn 1 credit Pass/Fail for completing a semester of PLTL in Physics if they attend 9 or more PLTL sessions. If a student adheres to the PLTL attendance policy, they will automatically be granted this credit. If they are close to the 21-credit hour semester limit, or for some other reason do not want the credit hour, they need to fill out the Credit Opt Out form.

Dropping Physics PLTL
If a student wishes not to return to Physics PLTL for any reason, they are encouraged to submit a drop request. This will help with the timely placement of waitlisted students.

Interested in being a physics PLTL leader? Read more about this rewarding opportunity and how to apply here:

Apply to be a Physics PLTL Leader