Personal tutoring statement

Information for Students explaining the role of the Personal Tutor.

The Informatics Personal Tutoring Statement comprises this page and two supplements.

  1. This page is directed at undergraduate and taught postgraduate students in Informatics, and contains the core statement of what you can expect from the Personal Tutor System, in accordance with University policy.
  2. A Supplement provides local guidance and further suggestions to students on making good use of the system.
  3. A Staff Supplement is directed primarily at Personal Tutors in Informatics, but also will be of interest to students and to other staff in Informatics and in the rest of the University.

Your Personal Tutor

Your Personal Tutor will be a member of staff familiar with your general area of study and the expectations of academic work in your discipline. They will have a clear understanding of their role in supporting your studies and how to direct you to any other support you might need during your time at the University.

Working in partnership with your Personal Tutor will help you to:

  • become a more confident learner in your discipline and play an active part in your academic community;
  • reflect on your academic progress and make the most effective use of your academic feedback;
  • develop the range of skills and attributes required for success at university and beyond.

More extensive details on all aspects of the Personal Tutoring system, including each School Personal Tutoring Statement from across the University, can be found at the following link: Your Personal Tutor system . Further information, explanation and suggestions from the School of Informatics can be found in the Informatics Student Supplement.

Undergraduate Students

As an undergraduate student you will have a number of scheduled meetings with your Personal Tutor each academic year. During your early years at the University your School will schedule meetings to enable you to settle in and build a rapport with your Personal Tutor. Contact will gradually become less formal in the latter years of study however you are actively encouraged to schedule meetings with your Personal Tutor as required throughout your time at the University.

  • Your Personal Tutor will invite you, either through the MyEd portal or by direct email, to set meetings as follows:
    • Year 1: an individual meeting at the start of each semester (perhaps later in semester 2 if you wish to discuss exam results); around the middle of semester 1, a meeting which may be individual or in a group; and a group meeting in the second half of semester 2.
    • Year 2: an individual meeting at the start of each semester; a meeting early in semester 2 which may be individual or group; and a group meeting in the middle or second half of semester 2.
    • Years 3, 4 and 5: an individual meeting at the start of semester 1.
    Personal Tutors will usually arrange meeting times by an electronic sign-up sheet at least a week in advance of the meeting.
  • Individual meetings are mainly for you and your Personal Tutor to review and discuss course choices, progress so far, and directions for the future. Further information and suggestions on preparing for these meetings is in the Student Supplement. The group meetings allow for free discussion of topics relevant to the group: usually your Personal Tutor will suggest some themes in advance, ask the group to select topics at the start of the meeting, and then facilitate the discussion.
  • You can request an individual meeting with your Personal Tutor whenever you want to discuss something with them. Some tutors prefer that you email them directly, while others prefer that you use the Personal Tutor channel on MyEd. If your Personal Tutor has not told you which, then use whichever method you prefer.

     

    If your Personal Tutor is away, or does not respond quickly enough, you can always contact the Senior Tutor (details below) for advice.
  • If you are not on campus (e.g. studying abroad for a period, or on placement, or studying an online degree) then your meetings may take place by telephone, live internet call, or a web conferencing application. Email exchanges are not considered to be meetings unless they take place within a pre-agreed timeframe to enable you to have a “conversation” (e.g. if you are overseas and emailing within a 24-36 hour period to take account of time differences).

Postgraduate Taught students

As a postgraduate taught student you will have at least two individual meetings with your Personal Tutor in the taught part of your degree programme and one individual meeting in the research part.

  • Individual meetings will be held at the start of each semester, and then typically about a month in to the project part of your programme. Your Personal Tutor will invite you to these meetings either by MyEd or by email.
  • Individual meetings are mainly for you and your Personal Tutor to review and discuss course choices, progress on your project, and future directions. Further information and suggestions on preparing for these meetings is in the Student Supplement.
  • You can request an individual meeting with your Personal Tutor whenever you want to discuss something with them. Some tutors prefer that you email them directly, while others prefer that you use the Personal Tutor channel on MyEd. If your Personal Tutor has not told you which, then use whichever method you prefer.

     

    If your Personal Tutor is away, or does not respond quickly enough, you can always contact the Senior Tutor (details below) for advice.
  • If you are not on campus (e.g. studying abroad for a period, or on placement, or studying an online degree) then your meetings may take place by telephone, live internet call, or a web conferencing application. Email exchanges are not considered to be meetings unless they take place within a pre-agreed timeframe to enable you to have a “conversation” (e.g. if you are overseas and emailing within a 24-36 hour period to take account of time differences).

You will also be involved in at least two other meetings (in the taught part of your degree programme), and other activities designed to support your development as a member of an academic community. These meetings may be arranged by your Personal Tutor, usually for their own tutees, and provide an opportunity for you to share experiences, concerns and advice with fellow students. Your Personal Tutor will suggest themes in advance and facilitate discussion. Alternatively, the MSc organizers may arrange these activities.

Peer support

Peer Support activities are also available and we’d encourage you to get involved with these as they’re a great way to engage with other students.

  • Informatics has a number of Peer Support activities run by students; details of these can be found in the Student Supplement
  • Information about other Peer Support activities across the University can be found at the following link: EUSA Peer Support

Support contacts

All taught students have a Personal Tutor and within each School there is a Senior Tutor, and a Student Support Team. You can find out who your Personal Tutor is through MyEd.

  • The Informatics Senior Tutor is Julian Bradfield. He can be contacted by email at inf-st@inf.ed.ac.uk.
  • All administrative Student Support is provided by the Informatics Teaching Organisation (ITO), who can be contacted by the Web ticketing system (please use this wherever possible), telephone or in person.
  • For routine administrative or teaching matters, the ITO is the first contact point. If at any time you are concerned about your progress, or wish advice on academic matters, please contact your Personal Tutor.
  • The Informatics Head of Student Services, Neil Heatley has wide experience of student support across the University, and is happy to help with any difficulty you may experience.
  • If at any time you feel your studies are being significantly adversely affected by personal or external circumstances, contact your Personal Tutor without delay.
  • Your Personal Tutor is expected to respond within three working days, although most will usually respond the same day. If you contact them by email, you may receive an automatic message if they are away; in this case, or if you do not receive a response in good time, contact the ITO for minor matters or the Senior Tutor for urgent or serious matters.
  • You may find that you and your Personal Tutor do not get on well together simply because of character differences. If this happens, contact the ITO to ask if another Personal Tutor can take you on.
  • If you find that your Personal Tutor does not provide timely and effective help, please contact the Senior Tutor for a confidential discussion.