Dr Mary McKeever (SFHEA) is a Principal Lecturer in Higher Education and is the Lead Assessor for the Academic Professional Excellence Programme (APEX) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is the Co-ordinator of the Graduate Students’ Professional Development Programme (GPROF) and she developed and co-ordinates the online programme for part time lecturers (ALPROF).
New Personal Tutoring Platform Launched in Creative Technologies and Architecture
A group of staff from across the University have collaborated on building a new personal tutoring platform that uses technology to bring together key student information for personal tutors and a personal tutoring google site that informs and signposts personal tutors to academic and pastoral support for their personal tutees.
The platform and website is being piloted in Architecture and Creative Technologies. It has been built in collaboration with personal tutors from the two schools. The consultation with staff has proved invaluable – in each school the tutors discussed the difficulties they have in accessing key information about their tutees, which is held across different systems and can be difficult to access when required. Staff drew up a wishlist of the information about their students and student support services that would be most helpful for them to have, in order of priority. The two wishlists were then combined and the platform was built using an agile methodology of working through the priority list and sending it back to the schools for testing. This proved to be a very successful collaborative effort with IS, DCQE and academics all working together to meet a very tight deadline.
The project is part of a HEFCE-funded project entitled Raising Awareness, Raising Aspiration: A Targeted Personal Tutoring Support Programme for Narrowing Gaps in Student Achievement and Ambition (RARA). We are partners with King’s College London and The University of Sheffield in the project, both of whom have already got platforms. Working as part of the national project, has allowed us to catch up in a very short time but using the latest technology and drawing on the best technical expertise.
Alana Aldred from Technology Enhanced Learning designed the website taking inspiration from the King’s Personal Tutoring Platform.
John Newland designed the front end of the platform database to bring together the key data sources requested by personal tutors in an accessible and attractive interface.
Daniel Tung put in long hours on the technical build, working alongside Andrew Johnys, a contractor employed from the HEFCE grant. Paul Ramsay brought together personal and academic student support service details so that personal tutors would have all the signposting information they need at their fingertips.
The Personal Tutoring Platform and Google site have now been launched in the pilot faculties, giving personal tutors access to photographs, contact details, stage of study, year groups, marks achieved across all years and courses, ECF applications, attendance at key compulsory lectures and workshops, and submission of work. Most important for our diverse student body, personal tutors can now access the contact details of all the student support services (locally and centrally) so that personal tutors can make early referral for the development of key academic and technical skills essential for student academic success and referral to sources of personal support as necessary.