Integrating authentic scenarios into personal tutor development & training through student partnership

Peter Fitch (AC)
Maria Camila Cepeda Gnecco (UCL)
Remina Aleksieva (UCL)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM

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Session Outline

Over the last couple of years UCL has been enhancing training and resources available for new and experienced personal tutors. Staff typically give positive feedback on the delivery of guidance, support and community sharing of good practice in our current offerings. However, staff often requests more time and opportunity to discuss authentic scenarios and approaches to improve confidence in supporting their tutees. Comparable suggestions are presented within the personal tutoring and advising literature (e.g., McFarlane, 2016; Grey & Osborne, 2018; Lochtie et al., 2018; Walker, 2020)

This presentation describes an institutional student partnership project (UCL ChangeMakers) to develop a new interactive workshop for new and existing personal tutors. The project began exploring the range of topics and issues that students typically approach their personal tutors about, by reviewing existing qualitative data from focus groups and student survey data. Key topics were identified as being interpersonal skills, assessment/feedback, learning approaches, community building, and careers advice. These topics were used as a basis to design a suite of eight scenarios capturing real experiences of tutees, presented in new and authentic media for discussion (rather than traditional short written text summaries).

During the presentation we will present examples of the new scenarios, e.g., automated branching scenarios, email/ instant messages written from ‘student’ perspectives, and excerpts from videos of ‘tutees’ explaining their situation directly. The audience will be able to reflect on the scenarios and share initial thoughts, before we present the student researchers’ suggestions for the tutor’s course of action. We will then provide an overview of the workshop structure designed in collaboration between student researchers and an educational developer. This includes the rationale for pre-workshop tasks, timings with a focus on scenario discussion, ‘content’ reflecting on what students’ value from their personal tutor and signposting to available student and staff support across the institution.

Staff feedback from the first two workshops has given 82% rated 5/5 and 18% rated at 4/5. Participant feedback has highlighted that “the extensive use of specific [scenarios] was really great. This was very useful and made me think a lot about my approach more generally”, the value of “chatting with others in the same role…this has helped me feel like there is a network to tap into”, and “I love the idea that the students have written their ideal tutor response”.

The presentation will close by sharing the student partners’ perceptions of how their engagement with the project has impacted their awareness and career goals – “being part of the [student partnership] project was a great opportunity that empowered our student voices and enabled us to showcase authentic situations encountered by students and their personal tutors”.