4 Supervising individuals and small groups

Individual supervision can consist of discussions about study progress and coaching, or about substantive supervision of assignments. Both have some aspects in common but also their own specific characteristics.

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Live individual supervising

Online supervision of individuals and small groups is perhaps the most similar to the ‘real-life’ variant. Yet the setting is completely different. The actual distance, the mediated contact and the home situation all have an impact on the interaction. So please read through some important remarks about ‘online educational theory’ first.

There are (at least) two ways to start a video chat. Via the chat function in Microsoft Teams, or via an Outlook Agenda Request (linked to Microsoft Teams). Below you will find instructions.

If you want to divide your class into several groups, you can use breakout rooms. In this video you can see how you can organise this in Teams.

Useful tips & tricks

  1. Make sure you have the basics in order and ask your student to do the same. Use the button below to see the basics.
  2. Even with video calls, both you and your student(s) have less (nonverbal) behaviour to rely on or to connect with. It is therefore important to pay extra attention to interpersonal aspects in your conversation. Make sure you regularly check if you understand each other and are on the same page.
  3. Consciously take the time to put your student at ease and show your interest in them.
  4. Many people tend to look at the other person on the screen while making video calls. Keep in mind that you’re not looking at the other person unless you look into the camera. This allows you to make a more personal connection with your student, even if it doesn’t seem like it to you.
  5. As with a normal supervising discussion, it pays to draw up a clear agenda in advance and share it (digitally) with each other.
  6. As a lecturer, make use of the functionality ‘screen sharing’, and let students know about this option. This will make it clear what subject is being discussed.
  7. Because online supervision does not involve meeting the student regularly in the classroom, it is even more important to make clear follow-up appointments at the end of the conversation and to record these in minutes.

Non-live supervising

In addition to consultation and discussions about study progress or substantive assignments, it is also possible to offer non-live online supervision. For example, by reviewing and providing formative feedback of the students’ work.   Below are a number of ways in which you can provide non-live online guidance. Before you get started, take a look at the tips below.

Useful tips & tricks

  1. Remember that written feedback always requires more words than verbal live feedback. So write extensively.
  2. Use a fixed format in which you give feedback on work such as Structure/Building, Content, Spelling and Grammar.
  3. Make sure students have the format that you use in advance so they can check it for themselves. Also provide an explanation of what you mean or an example of a review.
  4. Set feedback etiquette rules.
  5. And, in case of peer-to-peer feedback, don’t just do it yourself, but also make sure the students do.