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Enhancing Student Support: Personal Tutors

Our new system for Personal Tutors system launched last week, as part of the University's Enhancing Student Support initiative. From now on, each student will have a Personal Tutor who will help them get the best from their courses, become more confident learners and meet the challenges and opportunities of University life.

Applications Division have implemented a simple IT system to support scheduled and ad-hoc meetings between undergraduate Students and their Personal Tutor or Student Support Team.  Both tutors and students can record notes of their meetings, which will then be available to those parties to view.

From our perspective, this project was made challenging by the tight timescales and ongoing discussions about the requirements.  The Personal Tutors system will affect staff and students throughout the university and was initiated late in the academic year, which left us little time to find out how people wanted it to work.  Different people had different ideas about what the system should do, some of which were very ambitious.  So the team had to focus minds on what could realistically be achieved by the start of term, with the emphasis on providing a system that did a few things well, rather than one that attempted to do lots of things and did most of them badly.

It is early days but so far the system seems to be working well.  The project team will gather feedback about what people like or dislike about the system and use this to plan future developments.  The long-term goal is to provide considerably more functionality, to be guided by actual experience.

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