Teaching & Learning


New resources for remote personal tutoring added to course

23 September 2020

A new section with guidance on how personal tutoring might be adapted to the remote environment has been added to the online staff development course for new and existing personal tutors.


Personal tutors support students' learning during their time at UCL. 

UCL’s Education Strategy underscores the need to personalise this support. Under this objective, we must ensure that every UCL student has access to a range of tools, designed to help them achieve the very best during their studies. These are being developed collaboratively by UCL Arena Centre and Office of the Vice-Provost Education and Student Affairs. 

The role of personal tutors and academic support in facilitating student progress, development, and retention will be even more important in the Connected Learning context.

Online course launched in March 2020

All members of academic staff appointed as personal tutors at UCL, including new members of academic staff with experience of personal tutoring at other institutions are recommended to complete the course. 

Experienced UCL personal tutors are also encouraged to work through the course as a refresher and central resource containing:

  • information
  • guidance
  • links to relevant policies and materials. 

The course will take approximately 3-4 hours to complete, depending on how much time you spend exploring the resources.

You can work at your own pace, return to the course at any time, and access the materials in any order. You will also be able to download a certificate of completion. 

The course has been developed so that staff can complete it asynchronously or use it as a resource for support on specific areas. Anyone who has previously completed the course can return to access the wider resources and new remote personal tutoring section.

New section on remote approaches to personal tutoring

The new section aims to provide support and ideas to help personal tutors on managing expectations and promoting tutee engagement, approaches to remote personal tutoring, and signposting UCL-wide support for you and your tutees. Practical tips and approaches are given, and real scenarios used to encourage reflection on tutee circumstances and personal tutoring needs in the remote environment.

This resource is based on the Connected Learning Live ‘Remote personal tutoring’ session, discussion with colleagues on their support needs, and a review of literature and wider context of UK Higher Education. The Arena Live ‘Remote personal tutoring’ session will continue to run throughout this academic year providing an opportunity for live discussions and sharing experience with colleagues across UCL.

Search for personal tutoring events in the UCL Arena events calendar for the latest bookable dates (tick the 'academic support' option in the Subject filter).

Staff and students working in partnership 

The original course was the outcome of an Institutional ChangeMakers project, which three Student Fellows.

They carried out interviews with staff and students to identify some of the challenges and areas of best practice. 

Did you know every department can apply for guaranteed £850 UCL ChangeMaker funding? 

The result of the students' research, in with collaboration with support and input from UCL Digital Education, UCL Student Support and Wellbeing, UCL Careers, Students' Union UCL, UCL Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, and a range of UCL academic staff, all informed the course content.

I had a great experience as a co-Student Lead on the Personal Tutoring Project. I feel that we identified the issues and barriers both students and staff face with personal tutoring and how we can much better support them with this. Cannot wait for the online course to start being used widely across the UCL. Sam Fardghassemi, PhD Psychology 

How to join the online course

  • Go to UCL eXtend - do not enter your email and password on this page, select the option 'UCL log in'.  
  • Then log in using your UCL credentials (username and password). 
  • Accept the terms and conditions
  • Only after you have done this, copy and paste the link below on the address bar at the top of your browser
  • Once logged into UCL eXtend, click on (or copy and paste into your browser) the link to the course: https://extend.ucl.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=578 
  • If you have any trouble accessing the course, email arenacentre@ucl.ac.uk.

Commitment to improving personal tutoring

In addition to the online course, there are two other significant streams of work to address this objective:

UCL Tutoring 

UCL Tutoring is a tool to support the management of personal tutoring arrangements. 

Six departments continue to pilot the UCL Tutoring platform and providing feedback to the service provider, Tribal.

Pilot departments are currently trialling additional functionality to simplify and expedite communication between personal tutors and students, such as:

  • Reference letter requests
  • Meeting agendas and actions
  • Extenuating circumstances requests.

Personal Tutoring Steering Group

This group is focused on developing best practice guidance to shape the use of technology while maintaining the primacy of the human relationship.

Membership is a cross-institutional panel consists of:

  • Faculties
  • Central departments
  • Students’ Union Postgraduate Officer
  • Student Support and Wellbeing