Peer Tutoring Programme

The Peer Tutoring programme is designed to bring additional academic support to our students, and an opportunity to teach learning for our tutors. The Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL) provides training for peer tutors to ensure they conduct their work in a professional, supportive and ethical manner. Students may select peer tutors by expertise in the online system: yalenus.mywconline.com

The CTL provides one-on-one peer tutoring and open ‘drop-in’  tutoring services for students. Faculty-approved peer tutors are available to consult with students who wish to enhance their academic potential and refresh their conceptual knowledge. Peer tutors are made available at no cost to the student.

These open drop-in sessions and individual tutoring sessions will aim to supplement the many academic opportunities already available to students through their classes, professors, and course-work at the College, but are not intended to replace these learning opportunities. All students, regardless of their academic standing or motivation for seeking peer tutoring, should meet with their professors regularly to discuss their academic progress in the classroom.

Please contact learning@yale-nus.edu.sg for any inquiries regarding the peer tutoring programme.

 

Update 26 August 2020: The CTL encourages all students to engage fully with the peer tutoring programme, which is a vital facet of our academic support structures at the College. Peer tutoring is available both in person and online, and remote students should avail themselves of this important learning support resource. Our priority is that students thrive academically, and we know this year is particularly challenging given the complications of distanced classroom and remote learning. Do please take advantage of the peer tutoring program. Tutors have been given some guidelines of how many hours they should be tutoring in each class, but we have now notified tutors that in light of covid-19 related disruptions these should be viewed as flexible guidelines not rigid limits. Please make full use of the peer tutoring program and if you feel you need additional support please do not hesitate to ask for it.

 


 

Resources for Peer Tutors:

Tutoring in the Time of a Pandemic

Thank you to CTL Student Associate Prayog Bhattarai (Class of 2022) for composing this valuable information. 


 

General Expectations

Online and In-person Tutoring. In light of Covid-19, you can conduct appointments either in person or via video-conferencing software like Skype, WCOnline, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom. While some students may prefer to use platforms such as Whatsapp or Skype, the CTL or the Writers’ Centre will not reimburse any personal data charges incurred. For technical assistance, please contact the Educational Resources and Technology (ERT) IT Team (support@yale-nus.edu.sg).

Generally, the CTL and WC recommend that you do not provide tutoring via electronic communications or phone unless under special circumstances. We still recommend that you do not tutor via email/text for the following reasons (also available in Page 7 of the Yale-NUS Peer Tutoring Handbook): 

  • It is harder to determine billable hours when you are typing text messages and emails.
  • It will be difficult to maintain professional boundaries and protect your time (and privacy) if your tutees expect quick responses from you.  
  • The risk of intentional and inadvertent academic integrity violations is greater if you tutor through texts and emails (the tutee may unintentionally end up copying the content or idea without properly citing it).
  •  It is harder for you to determine your tutee’s non-verbal cues via email, and assess how your tutee is responding to your tutoring strategies.   

If you receive email requests from tutees for “quick questions” or last minute feedback on their work,  invite them to schedule an in-person or online appointment instead.

Punctuality. Irrespective of the mode of interaction with your tutee, confirm the time and place of the session with your tutee.  For online tutoring sessions, make sure that both you and your tutee have access to the preferred video-conferencing software beforehand to avoid last-minute delays. In cases where a tutee lives in a different timezone, make sure that you clarify the timezone differences clearly prior to the session.  

Maintain tutee’s privacy. Never discuss your tutee’s academic and personal information with anyone beyond the CTL and WC staff as necessary. For online tutoring, be careful to avoid disclosing your tutee’s online identity. If, for example, you are conducting a tutoring session online from your suite, make sure that your suitemates cannot see or hear who you are tutoring. There should be absolutely no shame or embarrassment in seeking out tutoring assistance, but we also want to respect students’ desire for privacy.  For concerns regarding a tutee’s mental health and safety, contact their Residential College office, Assistant Dean, or a CTL/WC staff member.

 

Academic Integrity

Ownership. During in-person sessions, make sure that the paper, pen, and keyboard (in-person) or online document (virtual tutoring) are owned and controlled by the tutee. The tutee should be the only person using these objects and documents. Allow us to illustrate what this would look like in an online setting. If you and your tutee are viewing a shared document, make sure that only the tutee makes edits to the document. The tutor should limit themselves to highlighting or underlining a particular section in a shared document to draw the tutee’s attention to that section, and must avoid making changes to the content in any way. This practice ensures that you do not inadvertently put yourself in a position where you are solving the tutee’s problem set or writing their essay for them. As the goal of peer tutoring is to foster independent learning, encouraging tutees to take ownership of their materials and ideas is a good pedagogical strategy.

On Notetaking. When conducting a session online, encourage your tutee to make their own notes, instead of you typing ideas in an online document. The risk of both intentional and inadvertent academic integrity violations is greater when the student can easily cut and paste your content after an online tutoring session. While you can transcribe the tutee’s initial vocalizations, encourage the tutee to take charge of all the typing, calculating, and graphing over the course of the session. If they are finding it difficult to take notes in an online document, consider slowing down or encouraging them to take notes using pen and paper while using their computer solely for interacting with you.

On Assignments. When tutees approach you with questions regarding specific problem sets or essays, focus on reviewing concepts taught by the course instructor. Then, work on sample prompts or questions that are available for the course content.  Your role as a tutor is to support a student’s learning, and not just to help tutees with their assignments. Encourage the tutees to consult their respective course instructors for specific homework help and checking answers.

On Editing and Proofreading. Never directly edit or proofread your tutee’s assignments, essays, or computer code. Instead, provide removable comments on areas of improvement and offer resources that they can look up to do their own editing. This ensures that you do not inadvertently force the tutee to accept your own ideas on the assignment at hand.  

Ensure comprehension. In the online tutoring session, after you offer an explanation, ask the tutee to explain it back to you in their own words. You can transcribe these vocalizations in a document, but you should still encourage the tutee to write their thoughts down in their own words. 

Never share your own work. Use sample problems/essay prompts and the course material where appropriate as an example of model work. To maintain high standards of academic integrity, never share your own work with your tutees online or in-person. If you think a student would benefit from seeing an exemplar of the kind of assignment they are working on, ask the professor if they have something (like a stellar essay from a prior semester) you can share. 

Accessing credible sources. For both in-person and virtual tutoring contexts, focus on guiding students to credible online sources and how to use them responsibly for their learning. Students may be relying even more on online sources than usual, so digital literacy is essential. Remind tutees of the Library staff, who are eager to help students find what they need. Research guides are particularly useful as are individual consultations which can be done in-person or remotely. It is also crucial that you emphasize the importance of citing such sources accurately to avoid unintentional plagiarism.

On Recording Online Sessions: You are prohibited from recording any of your one-on-one or group tutoring sessions, even if you have the explicit consent of both the tutor and the tutee. While recording is appropriate for regular classes as some students may be living in a different timezone and may need to access lectures at a later time, this principle does not apply to tutoring sessions that happen in real time. We believe that the academic integrity risks posed by recording online sessions far outweigh the potential benefits of rewinding a session. If a student asks you if they can record the session, politely but firmly decline. Instead, encourage them to make more detailed notes, and pause occasionally during your session so the student has time to process ideas and information.

 

Good Practices

Ask for advance information. Prior to both in-person and online tutoring sessions, send your tutee an email confirming the time and place of your session. If appropriate, ask your tutee(s) to share relevant course material that they are seeking help on, and to tell you what they want to focus on during the session. This helps you focus on the relevant material for your pre-session preparation, and help the tutee use their time with you more purposefully.

Protecting your time online. Tutoring online might make it trickier for you to signal to the tutee that the session has ended. Set up a timed online session or a timer that goes off 5-10 minutes before each session ends. 

Seating arrangements. As much as possible, maintain a safe distance between yourself and your tutee(s). Maintain at least 1 metre distance between you and your tutees, and if you are working with multiple tutees remind them to maintain distance from each other as well. Sit at the opposite ends of a table instead of adjacent to each other. In classrooms and group study rooms, abide by the safety measures put in place by the College and do not move chairs from their designated position. 

On Masks. When tutoring in open spaces, make sure that you wear a mask. Even when conducting one-on-one tutoring in closed spaces (e.g. Writers’ Centre consultation rooms, Group Study Rooms, Classrooms, etc.), you are still expected to wear your mask at all times to adhere to high standards for community safety. 

On Personal Hygiene. Make sure that you wash and sanitise your hands before and after a tutoring session. Where appropriate, you should wipe any surfaces that you have touched (whiteboards, door handles, chair handles, etc.) after you use these resources. Remind your tutees to do the same for the surfaces they have come into contact with.  

 

On Group Sessions 

Optimal platform for Online Group Sessions. We recommend that you use Microsoft Teams for conducting online group tutoring instead of Zoom because the former does not have a time limit for group conversations. Tutors can emulate a group session by facilitating the free entry of students using the waiting room feature in either Teams or Zoom. 

In-Classroom Group Sessions: If you want to host a group session in a classroom, make sure you know the maximum capacity for that room (it will be written down on the inside of the room) and adhere to that regulation. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, limit the number of students that are in an in-person group tutoring session at any given time. You may want to break the session into two smaller sessions to accommodate tutee demand.   

Ask about course policies on group work. Make sure that both you and your tutee are clear about the policies on collaboration for their particular courses

Group tutees by shared problems. You can use features like Breakout Rooms on Teams and move among the Rooms offering guidance and encouraging students to work on their shared questions. 

 

References

This document draws on the following sources:

“Peer Tutoring Handbook at Yale-NUS College” Yale-NUS College, Centre for Teaching and Learning; https://teaching.yale-nus.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2019/08/Peer-Tutoring-Handbook-August-2019.pdf 

“2019-20 Handbook for Peer Tutors” Harvard University, Academic Resource Center; https://academicresourcecenter.harvard.edu/files/arc/files/tutor_handbook_2019_20.pdf 

“Peer Tutor Handbook: 2016-17” Haverford College, Office of Academic Resources; https://www.haverford.edu/sites/default/files/Office/OAR/2016-17-Peer-Tutoring-Handbook.pdf

Online Platforms for Peer Tutoring

Thank you to CTL Student Associate Prayog Bhattarai (Class of 2022) for composing this valuable information. 


The purpose of this resource is to support peer tutors with the use of online platforms as you navigate online tutoring this semester. 

SECTION A: Online Consultations Basics – How do I know if I have an online consultation?

Step 1: Access the Yale-NUS WCOnline portal using your login credentials. 

Step 2: In the schedule view, you will notice several types of colors used for scheduling.  

  • Dark blue indicates blocked timings (blackouts). Appointments cannot be scheduled unless the tutor unblocks their timings. 
  • White indicates open, but unbooked slots. New appointments can be created by tutors or tutees. 
  • Blue indicates slots booked for in-person tutoring. Please reach out to your tutee to confirm the designated location (Writers’ Centre, Group Study Room, etc.). 
  • Red indicates slots booked for online tutoring. Please reach out to your tutee to identify the tutee’s preferred platform for conducting the online session. Available options are WCOnline, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. This resource walks you through each of these options. 
SECTION B: WCOnline

Please follow the following steps for starting and navigating your online appointment via WCOnline:

Step 1: In the schedule view, click on the relevant online consultation slot (marked by red box). 

Step 2: You should be able to see the following window after clicking on the red box:

Please click on the red text “START OR JOIN ONLINE CONSULTATION”. This link will lead you to the online tutoring interface. 

Step 3: After following the instructions in Step 2, you should be able to see the following window: 

Let’s take a closer look at what we have here. 

  1. On the top left of your screen, you may notice a small black box. This is where you will be able to see your tutee. There are options to mute your audio, stop sharing your video, or expanding the box.
  2. The bulk of the screen is taken up by an online whiteboard. 
    1. This is where you may be able to transcribe your tutee’s vocalizations, or lead them to some useful learning resources. 
    2. If your computer/tablet supports stylus input, you may be able to write or draw diagrams here.
    3. Changes made on the whiteboard are highlighted and can be viewed for further reference. 
    4. To come back to view the content on the whiteboard for a particular session, simply follow steps 1 and 2 and you will be taken to this screen as many times as you wish. 
  3. You will notice a toolbar above the video box and the whiteboard. This contains some formatting tools to organize content on the whiteboard. 
  4. You may also notice a chat box to the right of the whiteboard. This function allows you to have a text conversation with your tutee in case you face issues with the strength of your internet connection. 
  5. You don’t need to worry about copying the content on the chat box and the whiteboard to another platform like Google Docs or Word. If you follow steps 1 and 2 for the same session at a future date, you will find the latest text transcripts. 
SECTION C: Online Consultations with Zoom

We anticipate Zoom to be a preferred platform for hosting online consultations due to its widespread adoption in academic, personal,  and professional spheres. 

Important Note: Basic users are only allowed to schedule a meeting that lasts 40 minutes at a time. To schedule meetings that last longer than that (such as open sessions for subject tutoring), we suggest that you do the following: 

  1. Reach out to your relevant professor/supervising staff member. NUS provides Zoom licenses to faculty members. As a result, they can schedule longer meetings and regular open sessions. Ask them to help you set up a recurring Zoom meeting for the open sessions.
  2. Further, ask your relevant professor/supervisor to make you a co-host for the meeting so you can manage the administrative side of the meeting, such as managing participants.

Set up a meeting on Zoom: 

Step 1: Open Zoom on your computer/phone. Install Zoom if you do not have it. 

Step 2: You should be able to view Zoom’s home page (shown below for reference): 

Image: Zoom’s Home Page

Step 3: Select “Schedule”. You should be able to view the following page:

Image: Schedule a Zoom meeting

Step 4: Fill in the details of your meeting. 

  1. This includes the meeting name, date and time, meeting duration,   meeting ID and password. 
  2. You can also send your scheduled meeting to your online calendar (Outlook, Google Calendar, etc).

Methods of Zoom 

Here, we will defer to the existing range of resources available on the Internet instead of trying to explain things ourselves. Please refer to the following resources: 

  1. NUS Zoom Wiki: NUS has created a comprehensive repository of information on navigating Zoom. This link leads you to some helpful plugins (for instance, integrating Zoom with Outlook),  and frequently asked questions on scheduling, managing group consults, screen sharing, and breakout rooms. We encourage you to explore this resource before you move on to the more issue specific articles listed below. 
  2. How to Zoom | Zoom Technologies: From the company that designed the platform itself, this YouTube playlist is a compilation of videos on scheduling meetings, hosting breakout rooms, managing waiting rooms (for drop-in sessions), and polling.
  3. Frequently Asked Questions | Zoom Technologies: This article addresses the average user’s concerns; concerns that you might have as you navigate the interface. 
  4. On Breakout Rooms | Zoom Technologies: This article walks users through the setup and usage of Zoom breakout rooms. 
  5. Pre-assigning breakout rooms: This article walks you through the process of assigning tutees into breakout rooms as per the needs of your tutoring sessions. You might want to sort tutees based on their questions, skill levels, or other metrics. This Zoom feature allows you to sort tutees to simulate small groups that you would find in classrooms.     
 SECTION D: Microsoft Teams

MS Teams is an integrated communications platform that allows offices, classrooms (and in our case, peer tutoring sessions) to operate in an online environment. It seamlessly integrates MS Office software into its ecosystem and enables both tutors and tutees to communicate more effectively despite the obstacles of social distancing and distance learning. The following resources direct you to training content from Microsoft aimed at helping end users navigate the Teams interface:  

  • NUS Teams Wiki: This resource guides the user on how to set up and navigate the Teams interface, with links to relevant tutorial videos from the developers of Teams. This includes scheduling and management of meetings (or tutorial sessions), with FAQs on file management.
  • Team Basics Demo: This link walks the user through the basics of navigating the Teams interface, including setting up a team and navigating through the communications features. 
  • Chats and Meetings Demo: This demo walks the user through the mechanics of managing calls and calendar invites on Teams.
  • Tips and Tricks Demo: This demo walks the user through some miscellaneous topics in navigating features on Teams. 

 

 

Peer Tutoring Handbook

The CTL Peer Tutoring Handbook is an informative guide for peer tutors which covers the following aspect of peer tutoring:

  1. Job Responsibilities
  2. Expectations Of Professional Conduct
  3. Tutoring Strategies And Techniques
  4. Specific Information For Language Peer Tutors
  5. Academic Integrity In The Peer Tutoring Context
  6. Mental Health In The Peer Tutoring Context
  7. Scheduling Appointments And Managing Data
  8. Compensation
  9. Additional College Resources
  10. Sources And Reference