• Teacher-less college uses computers to boost peer-to-peer learning

A French higher education institute which has not lecturers, just students and computers, has opened a new branch in California.

Students at the college, named ‘42’, are set tasks such as designing a website or computer game and are expected to complete this with just the help of online resources and their classmates. Other students are then randomly assigned to mark their work.

The institute believes that using computers and online resources to bolster peer-supported learning results in students and graduates who are more in control of their own learning.

"The feedback we have had from employers is that our graduates are more apt to go off and find out information for themselves, rather than asking their supervisor what to do next," says Brittany Bir, chief operating officer of 42 in California and a graduate of its sister school in Paris.

The teacher-less college, which was founded by French technology billionaire Xavier Niel, does not ask for tuition fees from its students and provides free accommodation. This offering, coupled with its unique learning methods, has resulted in places at the institution being hugely oversubscribed.

Ms Bir added: "Peer-to-peer learning develops students with the confidence to search for solutions by themselves, often in quite creative and ingenious ways."