Learning Commons

Meet with a Peer Academic Coach

Peer Academic Coaches

In addition to topic-based tutoring, students can increase their academic skills at the Learning Commons. These include how to effectively and efficiently:

  • Read textbooks
  • Take notes in the classroom
  • Manage time
  • Prepare for and take exams

NOTE:  All peer academic support services will be delivered live online via Zoom this semester. 

Schedule a Peer Academic Coaching Appointment

Before scheduling an appointment, please make sure to review our policies and expectations. To view the guidelines, please click HERE.

As a USM student, you can use our self-service online calendar to view available appointments and schedule a time with a Peer Academic Coach. You can also use the USM Quick Link in your "MyUSM" portal to access the calendar.

If new to the system, you will need to create an account. MAKE SURE TO DO SO WITH YOUR MAINESTREET EMAIL AND PASSWORD.

All USM students can choose from appointments on the Portland and Gorham campuses, and also request that appointments be delivered live online. 

All appointments are 50 minutes in length to allow the Peer Academic Coach 10 minutes to prepare for the next appointment.

Please feel free to drop by The Learning Commons in Portland or Gorham. If there is a Peer Academic Coach available, he or she will be happy to work with you. It is always best, though, to plan ahead and schedule an appointment in advance.This is especially true toward the end of the semester. If you need assistance, please call The Learning Commons at 207-780-4228.

Meet with a Peer Academic Coach Online

Zoom is an online meeting platform, much like Skype or Google Hangout. Every USM student now has a Zoom account, which can be accessed via the Launch Pad in the upper left-hand corner in the MyUSM portal.

Many of the appointments offered at The Learning Commons can be accessed live online. This means, as a USM student, you can work with your Peer Academic Coach from anywhere at the time of your appointment. Zoom will allow you and your tutor to: 

  • See each other via your device’s camera (for example, a computer or smartphone webcam)
  • Hear each other via your microphone
  • Share your screen while having your conversation
  • Write on a virtual whiteboard as part of your active practice
  • Save what was written on the whiteboard
  • Have the option to record the entire online session for later review (NOTE: this is the student’s choice)


Here is how to work with your Peer Academic Coach online:

  1. When scheduling the appointment, select “Yes - Schedule Online Appointment” from the drop-down menu instead of the default option of “No - Meet Face-To-Face at the Center”. (NOTE: if this option is not visible, it means that appointment is not available for online tutoring.) 
  2. A few minutes before your appointment, log back into this calendar system, open the appointment window, and click on the link labeled JOIN MY APPOINTMENT to start your online session.
  3. Upon arrival in the meeting, you may need to turn on your microphone and camera. (NOTE: we strongly recommend using both your microphone and camera during the session, as it will provide the best options for making the most of that tutoring appointment.)

To learn more about each of the Zoom functions, such as using the whiteboard, chat feature, or recording the session, please see below.