Digital tools for personal tutoring for first-year undergraduate students: harnessing digital potential and fast-tracking relationships

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This study explores the under-researched use of digital tools to enhance personal tutoring for first-year undergraduate students in a UK university. The digital tools adopted were a Google form for pastoral questions, and a website with support resources. These tools mobilised the potential of digital tools for pastoral support in higher education, where typically research has focused on digital pedagogic practice. With learning dependent on a number of factors for individual students, this study aimed to identify the potential of digital tools to support pastoral support as an integral aspect of the student journey. This knowledge gap is significant as students face increasing mental health and wellbeing issues, making the personal tutor relationship valuable for student success. The study found that digital tools provide a ‘way in’ to the tutor-student relationship and a pastoral website introduced a ‘self-service’ element to pastoral support; a welcome feature with academic staff workload concerns. Key findings were that students felt that the digital forms enabled them to voice personal issues to their tutor with some anonymity, that students held high expectations of the personal tutor role and that wellbeing issues were prevalent in the degree journey.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)62-79
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Social Sciences and Educational Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023


  • Personal Tutoring
  • Higher education
  • Digital Tools
  • Pastoral Support
  • Relationships

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