Support, advice and IT tools

Below are links to web pages and documentation that you may find useful, both in terms of guiding students and answering their general queries, and seeking advice for yourself as a Personal Tutor, especially with regard to support and IT tools.

  • If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, try our FAQ.
  • For enquiries within your School regarding the Personal Tutor System, see the Senior Personal Tutor Directory.
  • For all other enquiries and general support, please get in touch with the Personal Tutoring Support Staff in Infohub: personaltutor@abdn.ac.uk.
For You, as a Personal Tutor

Getting started

Access to:

Student Record System:  Request online via Management Information Systems Online Request Form

MyAberdeen: Send a request, including your Personal Tutor Reference (PXXX) and your username to servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk

MyCurriculum & MyTimetable: As above, send a request to servicedesk@abdn.ac.uk

There are currently several different systems you can use to help you support your tutees and we have produced guides to step you through each. The system you use will depend on what you want to do:

I want to…

See our guide on…

View my tutees’ timetables

Using MyTimetable

View a list of my personal tutees

Using MyCurriculum

Email an individual tutee

Using MyCurriculum

View a tutee’s enrolment details and course selection summary, and record notes

Using MyCurriculum

Search for a tutee

Using MyCurriculum

Create and modify meetings with tutees*

Using MyAberdeen

Contact tutees

Using MyAberdeen

View and save a list of my personal tutees

Using Student Records

Setting up an Email List for Tutees Using Student Records

View a tutee’s record

Using Student Records

Print tutees’ record cards

Using Student Records

View a tutee’s monitoring history

Using Student Records

Set up a virtual meeting with tutee

While face-to-face meetings are preferred, you may (particularly when you are off campus) also use Blackboard Collaborate or Skype as a ‘virtual meeting room’. Your tutees will need to have access to a webcam or mobile device. 

Blackboard Collaborate

Skype

For further guidance, see our Preparing for Meetings pages.

Leaflets and guides

Workshops and training

For other training and development opportunities, see Staff Development pages on StaffNet.

For Your Personal Tutees

Student queries

If a student has a query or problem relating to any of the following, please refer them to Students’ Infohub:

  • ID Cards
  • Making payments to the University
  • Student Records
  • Accommodation
  • Registry

For students with personal difficulties – such as disability advice, financial concerns, personal issues, visa renewals – please refer them to Student Services and Support

Resources for students

Support services for students

See our Student Help Guide for a full list of support services, including contact details.

 

Equality and Diversity E-training for staff

The University has launched an Equality and Diversity e-training facility for all staff. The e-training is an easy way to ensure your knowledge on Equality and Diversity matters is up-to-date.  This will help to ensure that the University creates a learning and working environment which is accessible and inclusive.

Two modules are available. 'Diversity in the Workplace' provides basic training on the legislative framework and its practical implications. All staff are required to complete this module.

The second module, 'Diversity in Teaching and Learning', focuses on the specific issues for teaching staff. It allows colleagues to reflect on their teaching practice and provides guidance regarding developing an inclusive learning environment. 

Each module will take approximately 60-90 minutes to complete.  They can be started, saved and returned to at your convenience.

If you are having any difficulties with registering or accessing the training modules, please contact Shona Fraser at shona.fraser@abdn.ac.uk

Exam Preparation

Exam preparation meetings will be held for Level 1 students in November.  This Level 1 Resource can be download for later use.

Exam Preparation

LEVEL 1

November meeting

Across their Level 1 curriculum, students will experience a range of different types of assessment. Some courses will conclude with a traditional end-of-course unseen exam; others will have 100% coursework assessment. Students taking a 6th -century course, for example, will have 100% coursework assessment and no exam. Some courses have exam exemption if students achieve a certain level of marks in their coursework.

Most students, however, will have to take one or more exams in the December and May diets. It may be helpful for Level 1 students to have an opportunity to discuss revising and preparing for exams, including what is involved in the exam process. Some students worry more about the logistics of the exam process than the actual exams themselves.

Exam revision

Ideally, revision is a planned process! It is generally not a good idea to leave revision until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute 'cramming', it is widely accepted that for most students this is not the best way to approach an exam.

Potential discussion areas include:

  • What does revision involve?
  • What works?
  • What might you try?
  • What resources are there to help?

Some suggested resources for revision and exam techniques:

  • Course-specific information about the format of each exam should be given by the relevant course coordinator/team.
  • Past exam papers are available through the Exam Papers Database. These can guide students as to the type of exam questions to expect and can be used as timed practice questions before the exam. Students should check that the past papers are still a relevant example of the exam that they will be taking.
  • Revision/exam techniques sessions will be offered by courses in the Structured Revision Week.
  • ACHIEVE generic resources on Revision and Exam Skills for students include tips on planning and managing revision and exams.
  • Student Learning Service Revision and Exam Techniques Workshops will run during November-December 2014. All workshop places will be bookable in advance through the SLS website.

Some points for students to consider:

  • Which of their courses have exams?
  • How long is each exam?
  • What is the format of each? Examples: Will there be multiple-choice / short answer / essay questions?
  • How many questions will they have to answer?
  • Will there be a choice of questions?
  • How will the exam be marked? Will there be equal weighting given to each answer?

Exams: the process

How does it work at Aberdeen?

  • Students receive their exam timetables through their Student Portal, which include the time, date and location of each exam. Students with special provisions/adjustments (extra time/use of computer/own room etc.) are informed of their particular arrangements. There is exam timetable information for students on the Infohub website:
  • Students are advised to arrive at the exam location in good time as they are normally admitted into the exam hall/room approximately 10 minutes before the start of the exam.
  • Students are not allowed to join the exam after the first 30 minutes.
  • Students will be given all necessary stationery (exam booklets/graph paper) but must bring their own pens and pencils.
  • Food is not allowed; bottled water can be taken into the exam room.
  • Mobile phones must be turned off and left with bags/coats in the designated place in the exam room. Phones cannot be used as clocks / calculators or dictionaries.
  • It is sometimes possible for students, for whom English is not their first language, to take a paper copy of a dictionary into an exam but they should check in advance that this is permitted. No electronic dictionaries may be used.
  • Students are not permitted to leave the exam room during the last 30 minutes of the exam.
  • Course results, which will appear as a single Common Grading Scale (CGS) grade for each course, will be issued to students through their student portal in February. The pass grade for all courses is D3.
Feedback and Exam Reflection

Information about feedback and feedback logs at the University of Aberdeen. Also, a Discussion points for reflecting on exam performance and preparation, for all year group meetings.

Feedback

Feedback Logs

Feedback Logs are a means to promote students’ engagement with feedback.  At the introductory meeting with Level 1 students and at other meetings focused on feedback for different Levels of students (or indeed at any other appropriate time) Personal Tutors can encourage their Tutees to keep a Feedback Log to record and reflect on feedback given in courses across their programme of studies.  Students can also note what actions they have taken/will take to improve.  It is hoped that by engaging with the Feedback Logs, receiving, reflecting and responding to feedback will become a more meaningful and beneficial practice.  By sharing their Feedback Logs with their Personal Tutors (as well as with other appropriate academic and support staff) students can allow staff to gain a contextualised overview of their progress, as well as identify areas of difficulty.

All students are provided with a Feedback Log template to use in MyAberdeen, which leads them to create a shareable portfolio.  Instructions on to how to develop, maintain and share the Log are also available. 

Feedback Log template

Feedback log template

As shown above, students note their name, degree programme, year of study and courses; they also note the total number of credits being taken per half-session of each academic year they are studying here.  For each course, the template provides two distinct areas in which each student records:

1)      A copy (or file) of feedback received for each assignment undertaken + a brief summary of the key points of the feedback.  Students can also note or cross-reference to any other form of feedback received (which may exist elsewhere e.g. in a lab notebook).

2)      The actions the student has taken/will be taking in response to the feedback.

Students are asked to complete both sections for each piece of feedback they are given during a course.  If the feedback is in electronic form (written or recorded) they can attach a copy.  If it is handwritten they can scan the original in any MFD, email it to themselves and upload the pdf to the Log.  This will allow a record to build up over the student’s time in the university, which documents all feedback given, the understanding of the feedback and the actions taken in response. 

Example of a Feedback Log in progress

Feedback log in progress

 

How does sharing a Feedback Log work?

If a student wishes to discuss any aspect of feedback with his/her Personal Tutor (or with any other appropriate member of staff) the member of staff can request access to the Feedback Log.  This will enable him/her to see the student’s record of all feedback received to date.  The information will provide a broader context for discussions about the student’s progress overall and help identify any areas of difficulty, which may (or may not) be confined to certain courses. 

If the student has completed the Log, the reader will gain a quick overview of the student’s interpretation of feedback received across his/her courses of study.  If the summaries of written (or recorded) feedback are accompanied by copies of the originals, the reader can also check to see if the student’s interpretation is accurate!  Many misunderstandings of feedback can and do occur.  Any action points or responses noted will allow the reader to see what measures (if any) the student has taken/is undertaking to act upon any recommendations for improvement given in the feedback. 

If nothing is recorded against a particular course, or courses, then this can prompt a conversation between the student and the reader to determine why this is the case.  Resulting conversations can be more focused according to the similarities or differences noted across the range of courses. 

Download the above page regarding feedback logs as a pdf

There is extensive information about feedback on the University's feedback web pages which will be of use in your preparation for meetings on this theme.

Exam Reflection

You can download this full resource in pdf format.                    

LEVEL 1 or Direct Entry (DE) students - January meeting:

Meeting focused on exam reflection

As this will have been the first diet of exams for this cohort of students, there may well be questions in their minds as to what happens next. Some of the students may not have had any formal exams but instead will have had to submit course work for their final assessment(s).

Receiving and interpreting the results

  • All course results for the December diet of exams will be delivered via the Student Hub. 
  • For each of the courses they took, students will receive a final course grade, which will be expressed as a single grade on the Common Grading Scale (CGS), which will be issued to students through their Student Hub. 
  • They will need to understand that a final grade of D3 or above indicates a pass and they will see noted ‘A’ (for achieved).  A final grade of E1 or below indicates that they have not passed the course and they will see noted ‘NA’ (not achieved).
  • The calculation of a final course grade will take into account all marks achieved in summative (the results count toward the final grade) assessments.  Each assessment will form a percentage of the final grade (see relevant Course Guide or the Undergraduate Online Course Catalogue for the percentage weighting of each assessed element).

What happens if a student does not pass a course?

  • If a student does not pass a course there will be a resit opportunity to try to complete the course. Details of applying for resits can be found here.  Dates for exams and resits can be found on the Week Numbers. The prescribed resit format for each course can be found in the relevant Course Guide or the Undergraduate Catalogue of Courses
  • If a student was unable to sit an exam due to notified illness, or other circumstances, there will not be a final course result.  The opportunity to complete the course (in the prescribed format for that course) will be during the resit period in the summer.

Will there be feedback on exams?

The University policy on providing feedback on exams can be found in the Institutional Framework for the Provision of Feedback on Assessment (page 2):

Feedback on examinations should:

  1. Be provided as soon as possible after the exam diet.
  2. Where appropriate, be offered as generic feedback.
  3. Be available to individual students upon request.

ALL STUDENTS

Suggested questions for group reflection on exam preparation:

  • How did you go about preparing for your exams? When did you start? Was this early enough, do you think?
  • Did you sit with your lecture notes and read and re-read them over and over again?  This ‘passive’ learning activity is generally shown to be unproductive.
  • Did you do any active learning, reconstructing the material into a different form when revising? This is generally shown to promote greater understanding and deeper learning.
  • Did you test yourself: use online tests/quizzes, brainstorm with friends, use quizzes in textbooks etc.?  These, too, are active learning activities.
  • Did you access past exam papers (through the Library database) and practise timed answers?  The Library has an online guide for students on accessing past exam papers.

Suggested questions for group reflection on the exams:

  • How was your time management?
  • Do you think you allowed yourself time to read through the instructions and the questions on the paper thoroughly?
  • Did you struggle in the exam to show what you know while still answering the question?
  • Did you move beyond just reciting your notes?
  • Were there parts of the exams that you found easy?  Which bits were difficult? Why was this?
  • How can you improve in the areas you found tricky? (e.g.: Did you find essays more difficult than Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)?)

HONOURS STUDENTS

  • Did you think you show understanding and thought as well as knowledge?
  • Do you think you showed what your ideas were building on?
  • Did you acknowledge the critical work of others?

ALL STUDENTS

Some questions to consider on receiving the exam results:

  • Are your results as you expected?
  • Are your results as good as you had hoped for?
  • Do you think your results are a fair reflection of the effort you put in?
  • What techniques did you use?
  • How do you think you could improve?

What can I do to improve?

Graduate Attributes

In common with many other universities, nationally and internationally, the University of Aberdeen has underpinned the student experience of its curriculum and co-curriculum with a defined set of qualities that all students will have the opportunity to develop and enhance during their time at university. These form the nineteen Graduate Attributes, which students from Aberdeen will take with them into the world of further study, employment or life experience. 

Download this full Graduate Attributes resource which includes information for all year levels or you can review materials for the level you are preparing for if you access resources for meeting content by Year Level for September and March.

What are the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes?

They are grouped under four main categories:

Academic Excellence

  • In-depth and extensive knowledge, understanding and skills at internationally-recognised levels in their chosen discipline(s);
  • A breadth of knowledge, understanding and skills beyond their chosen discipline(s);
  • An ability to participate in the creation of new knowledge and understanding through research and inquiry;
  • A contextual understanding of past and present knowledge and ideas;
  • An intellectual curiosity and a willingness to question accepted wisdom and to be open to new ideas

Critical Thinking and Effective Communication

  • A capacity for independent, conceptual and creative thinking;
  • A capacity for problem identification, the collection of evidence, synthesis and dispassionate analysis;
  • A capacity for attentive exchange, informed argument and reasoning;
  • An ability to communicate effectively for different purposes and in different contexts;
  • An ability to work independently and as part of a team;
  • A diverse set of transferable and generic skills

Learning and Personal Development

  • An openness to, and an interest in, life-long learning through directed and self-directed study;
  • An awareness of personal strengths and weaknesses;
  • A capacity for self-reflection, self-discovery and personal development

Active Citizenship

  • An awareness and appreciation of ethical and moral issues;
  • An awareness and appreciation of social and cultural diversity;
  • An understanding of social and civic responsibilities, and of the rights of individuals and groups;
  • An appreciation of the concepts of enterprise and leadership in all aspects of life;
  • A readiness for citizenship in an inclusive society

Why did the University develop the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes?

  • To reflect an increased focus on the breadth of the student experience.
  • To encourage staff and student engagement with a reflective and developmental process that would extend across the curriculum and co-curriculum, at all levels of undergraduate study.
  • To enhance student employability in the global employment market.

How are they to be embedded in the student experience?

Through engaging staff, student and employer awareness and development of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes.

Through stating explicitly in each course how it supports the development of Aberdeen Graduate Attributes and encouraging students to articulate their reflections and development of them.

Through establishing ACHIEVE, a central site located in MyAberdeen, which offers undergraduate students resources to assess and reflect upon their skills and development needs in the curriculum and the co-curriculum.  ACHIEVE also refers them to relevant support services, including the Student Learning Service and the Careers Service.

Graduate Attributes Meeting Content L1-5

How can a Personal Tutor include discussion of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes in PT meetings?

First Year - September meeting:

Initial welcome, introduction to Graduate Attributes

Before the meeting: the students could be asked to look through the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes (www.abdn.ac.uk/graduateattributes) and come prepared to talk about why they think we have them.

At the meeting:

  • Now that you have had time to look at the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, let’s discuss why we have them
  • Do you have any questions about them?
  • Which skills do you think you might seek to develop during year 1 at University?
  • How can students reflect upon and develop them during their time at University?
  • What is the difference between the curriculum and the co-curriculum?
  • Where can students find resources to support them in recognising and developing these attributes?  ACHIEVE

March meeting:

Focus on assessments, self-reflection of Graduate Attributes, year to date and considerations for next academic year as well as co-curricular opportunities

This meeting might include a recap and discussion of the students’ thoughts on and experience of the Graduate Attributes thus far.

Suggested activity:

DIAMOND NINE

This can be done as an individual exercise, or in pairs or small groups. 

Explore the pack of 19 Aberdeen Graduate Attributes cards.  Arrange your top NINE Aberdeen Graduate Attributes into a diamond hierarchy, in which the top line (only one card) is the most important/relevant, the second line (two cards) features the next most important/relevant, the third line (three cards) the next, and then decrease through two cards to the final one card to complete the diamond.  Each can then discuss why and how decisions were made to select and prioritise the final DIAMOND NINE.

Download: Diamond 9 Quick Guide for Personal Tutors

Download: Graduate Attribute cards - Active Citizenship

               Graduate Attribute cards - Learning and Personal Development

               Graduate Attribute cards - Academic Excellence

               Graduate Attribute cards - Critical Thinking & Effective Communication


Second Year - September meeting

Initial welcome, Graduate Attributes and co-curriculum development

Suggested questions to explore with returning students:                                 

  • Which of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes seemed most relevant to you in your Year 1 curriculum and/or co-curriculum?  Why?  Can you give examples?
  • With a thought for the future, which of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes do you think you might seek to develop or enhance during Year 2 at the university?

March meeting:

Focus on assessments, honours entry and self-reflection of progress with Graduate Attributes

Suggested questions to explore:

  • How do you think you have progressed and developed during this academic year? 
  • What challenges have you faced or overcome?
  • Can you give examples to evidence this?

They could also be directed to the Bringing Graduate Attributes to Life website.

 


Third Year - September meeting

Initial welcome meeting focused on feedback and co-curriculum

Suggested questions to explore:

  • How would you identify and articulate your development of Graduate Attributes to potential placement/internship providers and employers?
  • How could you evidence or provide examples to support what you say?  Remember that the Graduate Attributes will be developed and enhanced through both the curriculum and the co-curriculum

Suggested activity:

Repeat the DIAMOND NINE exercise.  Have your priorities changed since Year 1?  If so, why?

March meeting:

Focus on aspects of employability

Suggested reminder question that could be part of this discussion:

  • In what ways could you identify and articulate your development of Graduate Attributes to potential placement/internship providers and employers?

Fourth Year / Fifth Year - September/January meetings

Initial welcome, Graduate Attributes and employability

Meeting focus on exam reflection and employability (reference prep)

Suggested questions to explore:

  • How do the challenges of final year dissertations/projects draw on your development of the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes?
  • How do the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes relate to the qualities and competencies sought by employers or postgraduate course (academic or professional) recruitment teams?
  • What sort of evidence/examples will you be able to give to support your employment/course applications?