How PAL can help you

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) is a student-to-student support scheme aimed to support students with their transition to University and contribute to the wider student experience.

If you are a Foundation, Year 1 or top-up student, and your course has PAL, your sessions are intended to help you:

  • increase your understanding of what is expected of you as a UWE Bristol student
  • settle in more quickly to university life
  • connect more with your course and other students
  • feel part of a learning community
  • boost your learning strategies, and adjust your study habits to meet the requirements of university study
  • gain a deeper understanding of course content and expectations
  • increase your academic performance.

How PAL works

How peer support is delivered

  • PAL will be online from Block Zero until the end of teaching block one in the first instance. Sessions will be mainly facilitated in Microsoft Teams with the day and time of each session appearing in student timetables.
  • PAL support will comprise of a weekly 30-minute synchronous or ‘live’ session and 30 minutes asynchronous peer-to-peer support through ‘PAL Community’.

Who runs the PAL sessions?

Sessions are run by your PAL Leader. They:

  • are normally from the academic year above in the same discipline so have been where you are now
  • have received training and are in regular contact with the PAL office and academics in your programme to ensure that PAL sessions are relevant and well-structured
  • will create opportunities for you to ask questions about course material and university life, explore ideas and concepts in more depth and develop your study skills in a relaxed and friendly environment
  • will share their experiences, provide support and advice, and signpost you to other services at the University where you can get help
  • won't teach you, check your work or provide all the answers.

Get PAL support

  1. Step 1

    If your course is on the below lists, then PAL should be in your timetable and something which you engage with on a regular basis.

    You can also listen out for 'PAL' during your orientation period to the University.

    Visit your course Blackboard before the start of teaching block one for support and guidance on how to join your virtual PAL team. If your course isn’t listed, please contact PAL or look at the information below about how to engage with our peer-led Resilient U workshops, which are open to all students across the University.

    If you are a student in FBL, you can also access PAL study skills workshops in the Academic Success Centre. Please see the Events Diary for further information in September/October.

  2. Step 2

    Your online sessions will be run by your PAL Leader. Your group will be small enough to work together – sharing ideas, problem solving, completing tasks and checking understanding.

    Sessions at the start of the year are usually focused on settling in, getting orientated to the campus, and the University’s secrets to success. Later on, sessions are more linked to content that you have covered in lectures, seminars or workshops. You can also receive support and advice on exam techniques, assignment/project preparation, referencing, presentation skills and how to act on lecturer feedback.

    How to make the most of your PAL support

    • Stay connected with your PAL team and PAL Leader. Attend all your timetabled sessions. If you miss a few real-time sessions, don't worry – you can engage with your PAL Leader and peers during PAL Community in your own time. You can also rejoin the live sessions again at any point during the term.
    • Take some time to familiarise yourself with Microsoft Teams, the virtual platform for PAL sessions, to ensure you feel confident using it.
    • Participate in PAL activity during Block Zero so you can get to know what PAL is, meet your PAL Leader and find out who is in your PAL team.
    • Don’t expect to be taught. PAL Leaders are facilitators and mentors, not teachers or content experts. They will help you to help yourself.
    • Before each session, let your PAL Leader know the topics you would like to explore with your peers. This can be done through asynchronous communication during Community PAL. Remember that PAL is a place where all students can propose the content of a session and can steer sessions towards topics that they really want to cover away from tutors and lecturers.
    • When interacting with others and engaging in real-time discussions, don’t just post in the chat box. Try unmuting your mic to speak to the group.
    • Enter the online room with your camera on as much as possible. Interaction is much more authentic and inclusive if everyone can see each other’s faces.
    • Be willing to share your ideas, ask those 'silly' questions and reflect on your own learning. Active participation is especially important during group work activities in breakout rooms.
    • Ask your PAL Leader about learning strategies.
    • Give your PAL Leader constructive feedback.
    • PAL is about gaining a deeper understanding of the subject matter of your course and creating informal learning communities. So even if you aren't struggling, attend your PAL sessions – you'll get something out of each session.

Support for students in all years

Our peer-led PAL Resilient U workshops are open to all students across the University. Often referred to as bounce-back-ability, resilience is what gives us our strength to manage uncertainty and adversity in our lives, and the anxiety that can come about as a result. It is also about enhancing performance by using resilience tools and techniques to get better at what you do in terms of study or in your personal life.

PAL Resilient U workshops
Student holding a mug in student accommodation.

What to expect from PAL

Find out what happens in a PAL session.

"It makes you realise you're not the only one struggling, it helps to consolidate knowledge or learn it in a different way that makes more sense."

PAL participant, First year

PAL participant First year

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