What is an AEW?
An Academic Excellence Workshop (AEW) is a small community of students working collaboratively to master course material with the guidance of a facilitator. The AEW is designed to give students the opportunity to enhance their learning experience for a particular course. The facilitator for an AEW is trained to develop exercises that foster debate on key elements that have historically given students difficulty and impeded the learning process. As a result of this interaction the students gain both a sense of connectedness and the development of their own learning community.
The AEW is designed as an enhancement and not a supplement to the lecture. The students are actively challenged each session to work as a group to solve the problem sets. Within these sets are a number of challenge problems that are designed to foster debate on the tactics, procedures and results of these difficult problems. Depending on the situation and subject matter these challenge problems should incorporate several concepts and whenever possible these problems should crossover. For instance, algebra and trigonometry students could and should be working on physics problems using the kinematic equations and force diagrams while learning the math concept to gain early exposure to the subject. Early exposure to subjects like physics is critical to future success. [from Academic Excellence Workshops: A Guide for Facilitators, Booth and Tappero]