The role of the Academic Tutor
Academic support and study skills:
Academic tutors work with students to identify their strengths and weaknesses in relation to academic study skills and encourage students to make plans and/or take up opportunities to develop.
Assessment & feedback:
Academic Tutors support students to review and reflect on the feedback they have received on assessed work, developing the student’s ability to build academic skills and subject-specific knowledge and then to progress successfully.
Academic Tutors can also work with students to identify consistent patterns in feedback (e.g. poor referencing, weak assignment structure, insecure research base, etc.) and discuss the steps they can take to improve their performance in future assessments.
Academic and Subject tutors can also help students by giving guidance on planning and writing assignments. They can’t give direction as to what to put in an assignment, nor make detailed corrections. They can provide guidance on structure and how to develop the response to an assessment question. They may also review a draft assignment.
Students are reminded that support and guidance is available through the Academic Skills Workshop on ORMS’ iLearn [link] or through the Study Skills area on RGU’s CampusMoodle [link]. Both links lead to password protected areas. Students should use these resources first, before seeking further help.
Draft summative submissions – tutor feedback
Opportunities for students to submit assignments (or parts of assignments) in draft for comment and feedback by tutors before the formal submission date are permitted only for the particular assignments where ORMS or RGU has decided that this is appropriate and has specified this in advance (for example, on assignment briefing sheets, handbooks or in the online course details).
In principle, students may ask an academic tutor to discuss a skeleton framework, draft assignment plan, or a rough draft in order to help them develop their academic writing skills.
Tutors may provide written feedback on drafts and engage in dialogue of a general kind which allows students to see how they might develop their response to the assignment brief.
Please note only one framework, or incomplete piece of draft work will be accepted and seen, AND SEEN ONCE ONLY.
Once the feedback has been given, it is up to the student to make any changes suggested. In all cases the final decision as to what goes into a piece of work is the student’s, and the student’s alone.
In responding to draft submissions, tutors are not permitted to:
- make detailed corrections to a draft submission, nor
- provide information about predicted grade indicators, or other detailed information about possible grading judgements.
Coaching by Tutors
Several reviews and corrections of the same piece of work may be seen as ‘coaching’ by the tutor. Coaching is effectively cooperation between a tutor and student leading to the student gaining an unpermitted advantage over other students.
- This could lead to an allegation of Academic Misconduct, which is an inappropriate activity or behaviour by a student which may give that student, or another student, an unpermitted academic advantage in a summative assessment.
- It could also lead to an allegation of Professional Misconduct against the tutor.
Feedback on Formative Assessment Work
Formative assessment is primarily designed to give feedback on progress and inform development but does not contribute to a module mark. If the affected work does not count towards an award, a transcript mark or a progression decision, the problematic work should normally be addressed by specific and extensive feedback by the tutor on the issue that is the subject of concern. This is to ensure change of behaviour and act as a preventative measure for future incidents.
Turnitin is a program which checks student work for originality: that is, it searches through its database of published texts, webpages and student assignments to see if there are any areas which have a significant match to student work. Turnitin is NOT a plagiarism detector. The tutor will use Turnitin to alert them to possible problems, but they are also familiar with a student’s writing style and with the literature in that field of study, and they will use their experience and academic judgement to identify any issues with the student’s use of references.
Before any final submission, students may submit a draft of their work into the Turnitin Draft Submission folder. This will create an originality report which may highlight areas of concern and the student will then have the opportunity to take corrective action before submitting it to the Final for Marking Submission folder.
- You cannot rely on Turnitin to do the work of checking your references for you.
- You still need to make sure that you understand when and how to cite the sources in any work presented.