Energy and Sustainability Policy
Program Office

Constructive Participation in ESP Peer-to-Peer Activities

The ESP programs (BA and BS) share a number of core competencies central to preparing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in this field of study and work. For the Communications Skills core competency, ESP seeks to prepare all students with these abilities:

  • Effectively explain to diverse audiences – orally, in writing, and through maps and other information graphics – the intended and unintended consequences of energy policy and regulation.
  • Listen to and learn from other members of diverse teams.
    • Effectively explain to diverse audiences – orally, in writing, and through maps and other information graphics – the intended and unintended consequences of energy policy and regulation.
    • Listen to and learn from other members of diverse teams.

Acquiring this communications competency is accomplished largely through peer-to-peer activities in ESP courses, such as group discussions, team projects and peer reviews of another’s work. These interactions with classmates, along with instructor guidance, enable ESP students to hone and master effective communication skills, necessary for ESP competency.

In ESP peer-to-peer assignments, students are encouraged to openly express and explore new ideas. Exchange opinions and experience. Disagree and say why. This IS academic inquiry. It is why we are here. These assignments are a place to practice and develop effective communication skills, through meaningful and constructive discourse.  

Across all ESP courses, students participating in peer-to-peer learning activities are expected to participate constructively with others in the practice and development of effective communication skills. This means NO personal attacks, NO name calling, and NO threatening language of any kind.

This isn't a limitation of your free speech; it's a protection of your right to free speech. Write with passion and fervor. Mean what you say, and say what you mean, but no personal attacks, no name calling and no threatening language of any kind. Period.

Consequences (apply to all ESP Courses)

  1. Warning. Your review of this page and your completion of course orientation activities serve as your first and only warning about constructive participation in ESP peer-to-peer learning activities: no personal attacks, no name calling and no threatening language of any kind.
  2. First offense. The first instance of a personal attack, name calling or threatening language in a peer-to-peer learning activity will result in the removal of all of student’s interactions related to that assignment and a 0 for that assignment.
  3. Second offense. In a second instance, student loses the opportunity to participate in (and earn credit for) all remaining peer-to-peer assignments for the duration of the course.  

Any instance of threatening language will be reported to the Penn State Office of Student Conduct.

If you are ever unsure about a situation in a peer-to-peer assignment, contact your instructor before acting. Ask them to review your work (does it cross the line?) or to provide guidance. It is your responsibility to develop the awareness and control necessary to manage challenging interactions. The ESP faculty are here to help and support you as you work to acquire this important communications skill. Please feel free to contact your instructor and adviser at any time with any questions you may have about constructive participation in ESP peer-to-peer activities.