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.

Aims of the Personal Tutor System

The Personal Tutor system will provide you with a named member of academic staff, your Personal Tutor, who will support you throughout your time at the University, giving you academic support and a route to pastoral support. You, as a Tutee, will work with your Personal Tutor to reflect on your academic performance and on how this contributes to your aspirations and helps you to engage as a member of a community of learners. You will also be supported throughout your time at university by a Student Support Team. More details on the Personal Tutoring system can be found at: My Personal Tutor.

Your Personal Tutor

Your Personal Tutor is a member of academic staff familiar with your general area of study and the expectations of academic work in your discipline. University. Working 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.

You can find out who your Personal Tutor is via MyEd.

Undergraduate Students

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

During the taught part of your degree programme your School will schedule meetings with your Personal Tutor to enable you to settle in and support your development as a member of your subject area’s academic community. You will also have one further scheduled individual meeting with your Personal Tutor during the research part of your degree programme.

  • 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).

Support contacts

Within each School there are a number of other roles working in partnership with Personal Tutors to make sure the Personal Tutor system works for you.

Student Support Team

Each School has a Student Support Team (SST) working with Personal Tutors to support you.

  • 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. The ITO usually responds within a few working hours.
  • For routine administrative or teaching matters, the ITO is the first contact point.
  • For academic advice, such as which courses to choose, or thinking about your future years, contact your Personal Tutor.
  • If at any time you are concerned about your progress or wish to discuss personal issues affecting your studies, please contact your Personal Tutor directly and without delay.
  • Personal Tutors are required to respond within three working days, although most will respond the same day. If they are away and unable to respond, they should have an auto-response set up for email.
  • Tne Senior Tutor (see below) can help you if your Personal Tutor is away.
  • 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.

Senior Tutor

Each School has a Senior Tutor who oversees the effectiveness of personal tutoring within your School. If you feel that you cannot speak to your Personal Tutor (and sometimes people simply do not get along due to no fault of either side) please contact your Senior Tutor.

  • The Informatics Senior Tutor is Julian Bradfield. He can be contacted by email at inf-st@inf.ed.ac.uk. (Please do not use his personal work email, only this one.)
  • 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.