Remote PAT Tutorials

What is working in PAT?: Encouraging engagement

Laura Hollinshead, Learning Technologist-Curriculum Development

Speech bubbles on a pink background
  • Keeping the platform student focused – what is the student already familiar with? If they are already used to using BB collaborate then that might work for PAT, but MS teams is working well too.
  • Keeping it simple, keeping it consistent – once a platform is decided upon then keep this consistent for PAT.  Lots of different platforms gets confusing.
  • Keep the messaging personal and gently persistent – this may take more than one attempt to encourage engagement, so do keep trying.  Remember there can be a lot of ‘noise’, so this may not be noticed immediately, but students will know PAT is there in the background.
  • Offering a group tutorial works too. In fact, some are reporting this works better initially as it helps students to develop connections with each other. 

What is working in PAT?: Scheduling the meeting and getting going

A student on a video call.
  • Scheduling the meeting in advance so the student has a link to click on to ‘join’ the meeting is good practice. If you are using Teams arrange your appointments as Teams Outlook calendar events. This provides an easy to find link for the students to click to join.
  • But this is still like inviting the student to ‘enter your office’ and so they may be hesitant to do so, be clear about the joining etiquette here and that it is OK to enter the meeting and they don’t have to wait to be asked.
  • In collaborate ensure they also know how to join a session and use the microphone and camera settings.  In a group tutorial make sure they have given their name when they enter the room, so you know who they are.  There are guides for students in the Student guides to Course Resources you may wish to sign post them to.

What is working in PAT?: Agendas and recordings

A student using a laptop for a video call
  • Establishing purpose for the PAT meeting.  Having an agenda is really important. The agenda should be flexible and, of course, be prepared to be adapted to the circumstances of working/studying at home.  The agenda should recognise ‘checking in’ with the student, how they are getting on (progression), and an element of looking to the future (solutions focused). Suggestions for agendas and a guide for coaching questions can be found on the CELT intranet page (PAT resources).
  • The student can/should have a say in setting the agenda.
  • Record sessions if needed but remember to check the settings to make sure these remain private. If you’re unsure about the privacy settings, please call the IT Services helpdesk on 01332 591234.

What is working in PAT?: Group tutorials

A group of students working together.
  • Group tutorials are proving to be really important for students. Make sure where they are still part of the usual PAT offer, you continue to run them where possible. Students are potentially more likely to participate in a PAT if it is a group session and this sets them up well to attend an individual session.
  • As usual, set the agenda for the session and make opportunities for the group to add to the agenda. A Padlet can work for this.
  • Keep focused in the session on progress and learning – it is easy to go off track and focus on external situations when others are present. Sharing about the challenges of learning at home can be really important though, so be mindful of the difference between focusing on the external context, and focusing on the challenges to learning and how to support each other through those. Students may find this very helpful.

Anything else?

A speech bubble on a pink background.
  • If you are having conversations with students who are not your personal academic tutees then please remind them, they can/should still have those meetings with their PAT, and what the role of their PAT is. It is important they still access that support and guidance.
  • Remember PAT is NOT about issues; the emphasis should be on personal academic progress and solutions focused conversations. However, these are unusual times and it is OK to acknowledge the difficulties a student is facing but know the boundaries of these conversations.
  • Ensure you know to and when to refer a student to other university services if required
  • Ensure you know how to leave a meeting note after a PAT meeting in PeopleSoft; this is a requirement of your PAT role.