Components of the Study Process
Successful course completion depends on following the instructions and guidelines provided in each
course syllabus. At the start of each term, students should read the syllabi and learning guides very
carefully to fully understand the components and requirements of each of the courses in which they
are enrolled. Course requirements include weekly readings, participation, peer assessment tasks,
discussion forum responses, Learning Journal activities, and written assignments; there are also quizzes
throughout the course and a final exam or project at the end of the term.
The Learning Guide
The Learning Guide shapes the learning experience for the entire week by providing a framework for directing students through the study material and tasks, including instructions on how to approach the weekly tasks.
Research has shown that student participation is directly related to course success. In order to ensure a rich learning experience, students must take an active approach to their studies by being present and involved.
Attendance is measured and recorded from posted responses to weekly discussion forum questions;
participation in the peer assessment process; and submission of weekly assignments, Learning Journal
entries, quizzes, and the final exam
Students discuss course material and raise issues and questions related to a course in the Course Forum. The Course Forum is regularly monitored by Course Instructors. Participation is not required, but highly recommended.
UoPeople courses use Open Educational Resources (OER) and other materials specifically donated to the University with permission for free educational use. Therefore, students are not required to purchase any textbooks or sign up for any websites that have a cost associated with them. All required textbooks can be readily accessed inside each course, although there may be additional required/recommended readings, supplemental materials, or other resources and websites which students can also access at no cost.
Course Instructors may choose to assign specific topics and/or relevant questions as a weekly Learning
Journal entry to complete, but students are still encouraged to also use it to document their activities,
record questions/problems that they may have encountered, reflect on the learning process, and draft
answers for other course assignments. The Learning Journal must be updated on a weekly basis
because its entries will be assessed directly by the Course Instructor as a part of a student’s final grade.
Only the Course Instructor sees the Learning Journal, not the other students.
Peer-to-Peer Learning and Assessment
Peer-to-peer learning, a hallmark of the UoPeople program, is central to the learning process at UoPeople. In critiquing the work of peers, students consolidate their own knowledge and skills even as they are contributing to the growth and learning experience of others. Students whose work is being discussed have the benefit of input from multiple sources, which extends their understanding of the concepts. It also fosters deeper learning on the part of the students doing the assessing because they must first consolidate their own level of knowledge and skill before they can do an assessment. Assessing the work of others also helps to develop higher order thinking, communication, and evaluation skills. Students are taught about the evaluation process and, as they progress through their studies, learn how to assess the work of their fellow students with increasing insight and precision.
During the Learning Week following the submission of an assignment, students are given anonymous assignments from other students in the classroom for peer assessment. A student’s final grade is determined both by the work that he or she submits and by the quality of his or her peer assessments. Giving unjustifiably poor or exaggeratedly positive reviews of the work of others brings down a student’s grade as it is a sign that the student has not learned to evaluate the material properly according to the criteria. Students must therefore correctly apply the assessment elements set forth in the rubrics established for a given assignment.
Peer assessment is under the supervision of Course Instructors who monitor peer reviews for anomalies. Because the student’s assignment is assessed three times, Course Instructors identify discrepancies in grading when monitoring the scores of the assessments and may adjust the scoring, as appropriate, or override and re-grade a student’s work where necessary.
Participation in the Discussion Forum is an integral part of the student’s learning experience at
UoPeople. Students are first required to develop and post a well-formed response to the Discussion
Assignment in the Discussion Forum, answering the question that has been posed by the Course
Instructor. Students must also participate in the discussion by responding to at least three of their
peers’ postings in the Discussion Forum by rating their submissions and providing substantive written
Discussion Forums are only active for each current and relevant learning week, so it is not possible to
contribute to the forum once the learning week has come to an end. Failure to participate in the
Discussion Assignment and/or participate in the Discussion Forum may result in failure of the course.
Students are required to submit their weekly assignments by the indicated deadlines as described in
the Learning Guide and Course Syllabus.
The following week as part of the peer-to-peer requirement in all UoPeople courses, students
anonymously receive copies of the previous week’s assignments submitted by other students in the
course, and students then complete three peer assessments according to the calibrated guidelines found in the feedback section of the Assessment Form. Afterwards, two grades are issued to students:
the first for the assignment (i.e., their own work product) and the second for the quality of their peer
assessments of the work of others.
Students who fail to submit an assignment during a Learning Week are not offered the opportunity to
participate in the peer assessment process the following week. Since peer assessment is a requirement
for all UoPeople courses, failure to submit assignments and/or peer-assessments may result in failure
of the course.
Courses may contain three types of quizzes – the Self-Quiz, the Graded Quiz, and the Review Quiz.
These quizzes may contain multiple choice, true/false, or short answer questions. It is highly
recommended that students complete all quizzes to ensure that they have adequately understood the
Students have a four-day period during Week 9 of the term to complete their final exams, beginning on
Thursday of Week 9 at 12:05 am UoPeople Time (GMT-5 time zone) and ending on Sunday of Week 9
at 11:55pm UoPeople Time (GMT-5 time zone). Students are advised to complete their exams as early
in the exam period as possible. Make-up exams are not allowed, except in exceptional circumstances.