Q.1 Will my PAL sessions be face-to-face or online this year?
In the majority of programmes, it is intended that PAL sessions will be delivered face-to-face. This has been confirmed by the Faculty of Science & Technology, Faculty of Media & Communications and the BU Business School. There may be some variation in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences - updates to come soon.
Q.2 How will this work if my programme is taking a blended approach with my teaching?
Faculty timetabling teams will have taken into consideration what else is in the timetable on the day of your PAL session, for both you and your group. You should not have a PAL session timetabled straight after/before a session of a different format e.g. - a face to face PAL session straight after an online lecture.
Q.3 How has this decision been made?
The decision has been made in line with ‘course delivery plans for September 2021’ as part of BU’s commitment to providing our students with the best experience.
Q.4 Will we be operating on Microsoft Teams at all?
MS Teams has been integral in our communications during the pandemic, and when PAL sessions were delivered online, MS Teams proved to have many useful functions for PAL. We intend to set up a personal channel for each PAL Leader and their group so the benefits of Teams (such as file sharing, being a space to discuss in between sessions, use of apps for polls and surveys etc) can still be used.
Q.5 Is PAL likely to return to online delivery?
Although we have good reason to be optimistic about the start of the new academic year, your safety is our priority and we will be led by government guidance. Should this mean that we need to adjust our plans, then we will communicate any changes to you as soon as we are able to.
Q.6 How many PAL sessions are delivered throughout the year?
Up to 13 sessions per seminar group - weekly or fortnightly PAL sessions throughout the academic year as required by your programme/department/faculty, intended to be front-loaded in semester 1 with fewer sessions in semester 2. PAL Leaders should not hold any additional sessions as these will not be paid.
Q.7 What is the support that PAL Leaders are offered (general issues, content issues)?
General support is provided by the Central PAL Team who will be offering bookable appointments to support PAL Leaders and answer queries throughout the year.
Contact the PAL Central by emailing: PAL@bournemouth.ac.uk
Online guidance is provided 24/7 via our detailed PAL Central Guide here: https://libguides.bournemouth.ac.uk/palcentral/home
For Programme-related queries, the most suitable person to ask for support is the PAL Academic Course contact. (See the list here to find yours: https://libguides.bournemouth.ac.uk/palcentral/keycontacts/palacc)
Q.8 Do I need to register the attendance of PAL Groups?
PAL Leaders must register attendance of PAL Groups at the beginning of each session. The Central PAL Team distribute registers at the start of the term when timetabling has been confirmed with instruction on how to fill them. It is important that PAL Leaders register attendance regularly in order to be paid at the end of each month.
Q.9 What’s the best communication tool to use with my PAL group?
The Central PAL Team encourage PAL Leaders to use MS Team private channels as the central point of communication for a variety of reasons such as student experience, GDPR, and the benefit of continuity and file sharing. If you wish to use an additional engagement tool such as a WhatsApp or Facebook group, please be mindful of boundaries (sharing phone numbers), accessibility for all students, and netiquette.
Q.10 How do I choose the topic of sessions?
Under the PAL Guide there is a section called “session ideas” which PAL Leaders can use to take inspiration to plan their sessions. Find it here: https://libguides.bournemouth.ac.uk/palcentral/sessionideas
This is particularly useful for the first few months of the academic year, when students are still settling in at the University.
Once students gain a better understanding of BU, PAL Leaders should ask students at the end of the sessions what topic they would like to cover at the following session.
Q.11 Can I change the date and time of PAL sessions?
At the start of the term PAL Leaders are assigned a weekly session according to timetables’ needs. If the date and time assigned to you is causing a valid problem (e.g. affecting attendance), we suggest to email your Faculty Timetablers and cc your ACC in the email for awareness. Faculty timetabling teams will accommodate where possible, but please consider that room availability and format may also present timetabling challenges.
Faculty timetablers contacts: https://libguides.bournemouth.ac.uk/palcentral/timetabling
Q.12 Can I rearrange a session if I am not able to deliver it due to exceptional circumstances e.g., an exam/being off sick/university-related events etc.?
PAL Leaders can reschedule sessions for exceptional reasons by communicating with their PAL Groups first to find another suitable time and emailing Faculty timetablers at the earliest to avoid any time issues. PAL Leaders should also make sure that the register of attendance and related pay claim is updated with the changes of that particular session.
Q.13 How can I submit a Pay Claim?
Firstly, your online register must be completed. Once completed, you can fill the PayClaim form. You then need to send it to email@example.com in Excel format before the 1st of each month.
See details about Pay Claims here: https://libguides.bournemouth.ac.uk/palcentral/palpay
For more detailed information please visit our guide here: https://libguides.bournemouth.ac.uk/palcentral/home
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