16 April: Message for Tutors
Dear UJ Senior Tutors and Tutors
We trust that you are taking care of yourselves at this difficult time. As tutors and senior tutors, you will be straddling both a student and a staff experience at this time. We appreciate that senior tutors and tutors have always played an integral part in student teaching and learning at UJ.
We have amended the 2020 Academic Calendar. The academic programme for the second term will commence on 20 April with online teaching and learning and the first semester to end on 26 June. Please keep abreast of all communication in this period by following: www.uj.ac.za/coronavirus
There is no question that with the advent of COVID-19 and the lockdown decisions, the roles that senior tutors and tutors will play will become ever more important as we transition to online teaching and learning. This situation has forced all of us to rethink the ways in which we are able to offer support to our students. We can no longer rely on a face to face interaction, whether formal or informal. We trust that you have been in contact with the lecturers and your relevant departments to discuss your role in the coming weeks.
The Centre for Academic Staff Development (CASD) and your academic departments will continue to support and mentor all tutors through this process. The CASD will offer support to senior tutors and tutors in the following ways:
- Senior tutors and tutors will have access to a Blackboard community where they may engage with each other, providing support and assistance to each other as we navigate this new experience.
- On this Blackboard community, further training will also take place to equip senior tutors and tutors with the skills necessary to successfully provide online support and to navigate the online environment.
- Senior tutors and tutors will be invited by CASD to participate in Zoom and MS Team meetings to further develop online tutoring skills. Some of these will be in collaboration with departmental lecturers.
- In this Blackboard community, there will be opportunities for online discussions focusing on your wellbeing and on problem-solving and sharing.
- Senior tutors and tutors who experience difficulty in accessing the online environment will receive support via email communication. Senior tutors and tutors can email the following individuals: Dr Nelia Frade at firstname.lastname@example.org (for all APK tutor queries), Mr. Raymond Robinson at email@example.com (for all DFC and SWC tutor queries) and Ms. Queenta Anyele Sindoh at firstname.lastname@example.org (for all APB and FADA tutor queries).
Despite the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, let us stand together and view it as an opportunity to find new ways of facilitating student learning and engaging our students in intentional ways that can optimize their learning experience.
Professor Angina Parekh