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Peer Support Leader Guide: Managing Challenges Online

This guide is designed for our Peer Support Leaders to contain all the information they require to carry out their role, including key contacts, the process for the observations and how to claim their pay.

Managing Challenges

Managing Challenges Online 

This page is to help guide you on different challenges you may face during your online sessions. While this page mainly focuses on the online aspect of your sessions we also have another section on PAL Central to provides advice on more general challenges you may face.


If you, or your PAL students, are experiencing technical issues, contact BU IT Services via their 'Start a chat' service or phone 01202 965515.


1. Technical Issues with Teams 

During your sessions, you may have technical issues, either from yourself or your students. If you are experiencing any technical issues during your PAL session, don't worry, it is expected. If this happens here are some suggestions as to what you can do: 

  • Start your sessions with an outline of what you are planning on covering. This will help if anyone drops out of the call, understand what they are entering in back to 

  • After your sessions, send out a summary of what was covered in your session 

  • If there are wifi issues, turning off videos will help stabilise the connection 


2. Sharing a house and boundaries 

Sharing a house with other can make your PAL Sessions a bit harder to run and you may struggle with privacy issues. You can deal with this by: 

  • Having a conversation with your housemates, explaining that PAL is a job and you need privacy and little to no distractions to run your sessions 

  • It is also a good idea to use your own room instead of a common area, seeing people in the background could impact how your student's interact with your sessions, especially as your session should be confidential, using earphone can also help with this. 


3. Issues with Teams/Wifi 

You may find that you are having issues with internet connections and wifi. If this happens you can: 

  • Tips to help improve a slow internet connection.

  • Turn off the video function. This should help in creating a more stable connection.  

  • Talking to anyone else in your household and seeing if they would mind in reduce their internet consumption (such as streaming and gaming) during your sessions.  

  • We are looking at getting a space available for PAL Leaders to use on campus to run your sessions if continued technical difficulties interfere with running your sessions form home. More information regarding this should be released soon.  


4. Attendance Issues 

If you hare having attendance issues, it is important to keep running your sessions, even if only a few people turn up. We have advice on PAL Central that you can use if you are having attendance issues.  

  • A good idea is to simply ask your student why they aren't attending. It could be bad timetabling or that they are unsure about what PAL is therefore if you reach out to them there may be a simple solution.  

  • It is also important to let the PAL Central Team and your Academic Course Contact that you are having attendance issues.  


5. Students not participating in sessions.  

This is a main concern for PAL Leaders. If students are attending your sessions but aren't really participating there are a few different things you can do: 

  • To best way to get people engaged with your sessions is to plan it well. If you spend the time planning your sessions and activities, you usually won’t fell much resistance from your students.  You can also visit this page on PAL Central where there are a few different facilitation techniques that help with engagement from students. 

  • If there are some students that are not participating that much we can try to call on them by name to contribute, usually, that will help them engage. If you get no response, just move on and come back to them later. 

  • If you are still concerned about students not contributing you can get in contact with the PAL Central Team.