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Advice for Academic Tutors

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Questions

How can I encourage social interaction in virtual, online, group Academic Tutor meetings?

It's a good idea to set some ground rules as a group to start with, to make everyone feel comfortable. Don't expect everyone to want to have their cameras on, but you can encourage interaction through the chat, polls, emojis, collaborative whiteboard etc, as well as encouraging students to turn their mics on. Think of activities and questions in advance, as well as allowing some time for students to raise their own questions.

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What technology should I use for virtual, online, group Academic Tutor meetings?

You can invite your tutees to a Teams meeting or alternatively it is possible to use Blackboard Collaborate.

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Is there any support to help me run virtual, online, group Academic Tutor meetings?

CQSD offer a range of resources and training to support colleagues in delivering blended T&L.  Many of these will be relevant for Academic Tutors. See the CQSD pages for resources. Training sessions are advertised on the cqsd-t&l@lists.reading.ac.uk email list and you can sign up to join the list by using this form. You might also find this UKAT resource on tutoring at a distance useful.

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What should I do if a student asks for a one-to-one Academic Tutor meeting?

Academic Tutor meetings should be held online, but these can be one-to-one or group meetings depending on what works for the tutor and tutee.

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Will Academic Tutor meetings be timetabled in the academic year?

No, it will not be possible to centrally timetable Academic Tutor meetings this academic year, so Academic Tutors will need to arrange these themselves. 

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Will there be any technology to help me arrange Academic Tutor meetings?

A new scheduling tool Microsoft Bookings is available to Academic Tutors on request.  Please look at this short blog for more information .  To request MS Bookings, please follow this link to Top Desk and submit the form.

Although this software is primarily designed for business use, it has been successfully trialled at the University. Tutors can indicate slots when they are available to meet, set maximum capacity, and then students can book themselves in.  It can be set to send an automated confirmation to the student including a calendar invite to a Teams meeting.

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Will there be any support available to help me use Microsoft Bookings?

There is some basic information on this IT webpage and there is training available through Linked In Learning. There is also a user guide available.

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Will there be any specific training/resources for Academic Tutors?

You can make use of our Academic Tutor Toolkit which contains useful information and advice to support your role. A revised Guide for Academic Tutors  and an interactive signposting page/referral flowchart are available online to download as pdfs. There is also some useful information about online tutorials and virtual offices.

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Will there be any specific training/resources for School Directors of Academic Tutoring (SDATs)?

SDATs were provided with briefing slides at the start of autumn term, as well as a deck of briefing slides to tailor and roll out as start-of-term briefings for Academic Tutors in their Schools. A screencast tour of the Academic Tutor Toolkit and a one page set of useful links have also been shared. 

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Is there a Guide for Academic Tutors for 2020/21?

Yes, a revised Guide for Academic Tutors with an interactive signposting page/referral flowchart are available online to download as pdfs. 

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Where can I find the Academic Tutor Toolkit? 

The Academic Tutor Toolkit can be found under ‘A' in the A-Z listings on the Staff Portal.  Please view the screencast tour of the Academic Tutor Toolkit.

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How will academic engagement be monitored this academic year?

The Student Attendance Management Project has been rescoped and is looking at a range of existing datasets rather than physical attendance. Academic Tutors will now be able to view the new Combined Attendance reports for each of their tutees under the ‘My Students' area in RISIS.

The Combined Attendance report brings together RISIS attendance data with automatically captured data from Blackboard Collaborate taught sessions for all of a student's modules. Please see the user guide for these reports: Combined Attendance Report User Guide

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Where can I find details of the central communications to students?

You can find an indexed list of the latest communications to students on Essentials.

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I still have questions about Academic Tutoring, who can I ask?

You can ask your School Director of Academic Tutoring (SDAT), or Dr Jo Cordy in CQSD: j.cordy@reading.ac.uk.

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