Resources for Personal Tutors to help students with transition to study

Published 14/09/2021, curated by Dr Simon Gamble, Head of Study Skills and Suzanne Collins, Senior Digital Education Developer

Academic transition presents students with a number of challenges and therefore presents us with the task of supporting and enabling students throughout that transition. 

We’ve collated a number of resources aimed at helping staff to support their students with the academic aspects of transition to university. There are many great examples of practice across the University, so we’ve asked people to contribute current examples of tutorial programs, activities, workshops, online resources etc. They are there to use as you see fit, to take inspiration from, build your own activities, or just use them. If you have examples yourself we’d be really grateful if you could send them to bilt-info@bristol.ac.uk so that they can be shared.

Throughout 2021/22 we’ll be looking at best practice across the sector and again sharing the information here. We’ll also be undertaking a literature review of how the past two years of online/blended learning have shaped how new students are and aren’t prepared for academic study and what we can do to support them.

View the Personal Tutors resources gallery

Connecting with your tutor group online 

Having an option to meet your tutor group virtually can be a really great way to get to know them, even if some have been unable to make it to Bristol, or are unable to come to campus. These resources provide all you need to set up and run three different kinds of online community building exercises, a social ‘mingle’, a study focused ‘’study lounge’ or a video based activity using Fipgrid.  

Online Mingle Toolkit – From this toolkit, look for the ’social mingle’ which you can run with your students to help them get to know each other virtually. 

Study Lounge Toolkit – If your students feel like they need more structure, or motivation, to study – or have a lot of asynchronous work to do and feel a bit isolated – try a study lounge. The Study Skills team run these as structured sessions for students, with prompts to help them along. This toolkit gives you everything you need to set one up, and your students can even do this for themselves once they get the hang of it. 

Flipgrid Activity –  Flipgrid is a free video platform where people can record short (90 second) videos on a specific subject. Others can then comment with video or text replies. The aim here would be for your students to create short accessible content that engages and sparks discussion, allowing the contributors to feel part of a community and explore issues in a safe space.  

Study Skills 

The University’s Study Skills service has online resources co-created by Bristol’s students, which can be used by students in their own time. They offer a practical foothold in many of the tasks and approaches students at Bristol need to be successful. We’ve also suggested some useful free resources by the Open University which complement the suite of Study Skills resources. 

General study skills  

Academic reading and writing  

Academic integrity  

 Exams and revision  

Digital Induction and Skills Development 

The digital induction course Digitally Ready has been updated based on feedback we received in the 2020/21 academic year, and now includes extra resources. It’s again available as an orientation for new students to gain confidence and get familiar with the digital learning environment, as well as thinking about what it means to be an active online learner, and what blended learning might be like for them.   

We have also developed a new course for returning students called Digitally Ready: Refresh and Reboot! This course will guide students to reflect on their experiences of online and digital learning, and identify what skills they have, and which they would like to develop. It prompts them to review material they may have missed in Digitally Ready, as well as challenging them to try new things, and explore their digital skills even more.  

Both courses are available for students automatically, they do not need to enrol onto the courses. The links to these courses can always be found from our Student Support pages.   

Other routes for students to develop, connect with peers and get support for studies and beyond 

Bristol Plus http://www.bristol.ac.uk/careers/bristol-plus-award/  

PASShttps://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/your-studies/study-support/pass/  

Peer Mentoringhttps://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/support/peer-mentoring/  

Bristol SU Academic Reps and Course Reps: https://www.bristolsu.org.uk/student-voice/your-student-reps/academic-reps 

Other support services 

Disability Services Study Supporthttps://www.bristol.ac.uk/disability-services/study-support/ 

Student Wellbeing Service https://uob.sharepoint.com/sites/wellbeing-access  

IT support There is a lot of really useful information on the IT Support page about studying online, from choosing equipment to getting help with your internet connection. For any specific questions, you can use the IT service desk.  

During the teaching term, IT services have a telephone helpline which is only for immediate issues when you are participating in a live online session. If you find yourself in need of IT support during a live session, call 01173742833. The phone line is manned from 08:00 until either 17:15 or 20:00 on the extended teaching days. This line will have dedicated staff to deal with immediate teaching issues only, if it’s not then you’ll be asked to contact them via the usual methods which you can find on the IT services webpages.  

IT Services Remote Laptop Clinic 

In the Laptop Clinic, the IT services team will be there to look at Windows, Chromebooks, Mac and Linux laptops and desktops; plus smartphones and tablets. They can only help with software and configuration problems, (particularly where you are having difficulty connecting to University wireless, email or other UoB services). They can’t solve every problem but are happy to look and see what they can do. If they don’t fix it they can also provide advice on what to do next, information to help you fix the problem yourself or suggestions about who else you can contact. They can’t repair hardware, only software. For example, they cannot upgrade the memory on your laptop or change the hard drive. However, if you do have a hardware issue, they can advise you on what to do next. 

SU Advice and Support: https://www.bristolsu.org.uk/advice-support