Supporting students online
With each cohort comprising students who may be learning on campus, at home, or in different time zones, supporting cohort cohesion and fostering cohort identity will be important for student satisfaction. For example, while by necessity not all learning can be undertaken together, common activities which engage the whole cohort should be provided.
Both new and current students will need support to adjust to new ways of learning. Providing clear guidance and setting expectations of what is required of students, as well as providing guidance on how to engage effectively with new modes of learning and study will support student success.
Developing a sense of connectedness and belonging so that students feel part of their School/Dept community and the wider University community will be critical. This will need an integrated approach that takes into account the students’ experience in the context of their programme, the modules they take and the teaching they experience as well as support from academic tutors, support centres and student services more widely.
Study Smart is our online transition course covering academic integrity, communicating at university and independent learning. It has been updated to reflect the new ways students will be learning this coming year including advice on engaging in live online sessions; getting the most out of online core content; using digital tools, and managing study time. Enrolment on Study Smart is open until Week 6 of the Autumn term. Students who have enrolled will retain full access to the course for the whole of their first year at UoR. See our Tutor Guide
In addition to this generic support Schools should consider an induction with students at a programme level at the start of term, which could include an ice-breaker. Schools should also consider regular programme cohort meetings to strengthen cohort identity and interaction at the Programme level.
Ongoing support should be in line with what already exists in terms of support for module teaching, with students being able to get in touch with lecturers/tutors. This could include virtual drop-in sessions (office hours) or f2f drop-in sessions (office hours).
Student Services play a vital role in the wider student experience and they have continued to do that remotely/digitally to date.
The Academic Tutor System (ATS) is well-established and tutor meetings can occur online as necessary. Schools are advised to consider increasing the intensity of these meetings where possible, either with individuals or with tutor groups, to ensure students feel part of an active cohort, have an interactive experience and feel supported. Again, this could be in-person or online.
You may find the following external resources on research supervision in an online environment helpful:
- UK Council for Graduate Education good practice resources (including UKCGE Guide to Online Supervision which aims to help research supervisors navigate the challenges of remote doctoral supervision).
- OfS Coronavirus briefing note on supporting PGR students (includes a number of case studies).
- QAA Advice on Doctoral Standards for Research Students and Supervisors: COVID-19 Support and Guidance
Useful TEL links:
- Using Webinars for Office hours, tutorials and 1-to-1 meetings
- Using MS Bookings to coordinate meetings with students
- Use an dedicated MS Team for collaborative activities (for example, a virtual writing retreat) and discussion (for example, Q&A)
- Options for student Vivas or Presentations – some advice is in development at the moment on this.
- Assessment: Moving physical submissions online – which includes some advice on converting live presentations to online.