Students of the Coventry University Group (CUG) have access to a unique platform to improve their study skills, make inroads into new communities and deepen their professional knowledge. With the Vygo app, students are able to connect to a peer mentor – someone who will have more experience in a given area of student life as well as appropriate training in helping others succeed.
As an educator, there are several ways in which peer to peer mentoring can dramatically improve your students’ experience of your module or course.
- Academic peer mentoring
- Citizenship or extra curricular mentoring
- Custom mentoring programmes tailored to suit your students’ needs
Improve academic performance by signposting academic mentoring programmes
Can you think of a student who you know would love their course, if only their study skills were a little stronger? With academic peer mentoring, students in their 2nd or 3rd year are able to offer newer students help in some of the following areas:
- Forming strong study habits
- Organising workload (and work/life balance)
- Accessing good sources of information
- Signposting to additional services, such as the Centre for Academic Writing or Sigma
Currently, you can find an academic mentoring programme for nearly every member and faculty of the CUG as well as some for more specialized programmes centred around particular courses such as Biomedical Science or Food, Nutrition and Safety.
It’s worth letting all your students know about Vygo, as it’s open to all students; you never know who will be able to make the most of it. In addition to this, if you identify a student who could benefit from guidance from a student who’s been there before, letting them know that one-to-one support is available to them could mean the difference between just surviving and thriving in higher education.
Help students connect to their community with extra curricular mentoring programmes
It’s not just about study skills. With Vygo, CUG students can find a growing number of peer mentoring programmes designed to help students receive support outside of the classroom. Here are a few examples:
- CUSU International Buddies – Helping new internationals learn more about life and education in the UK from experienced overseas students
- CUSU Disabled Students Peer Mentors – signposting support and opportunities for disabled students through group and one to one sessions
- CUSU LBGTQ+ Peer Mentors – Sharing experiences, guidance and support on one-to-one and group sessions
- FBL Global Experiences – Global engagement mentors provide advice on gaining opportunities to improve employability on a global scale
As a member of staff, you’ll also be able to browse through the available programmes for students in order to look for opportunities outside of the curriculum that might relate to your course or generally improve your students’ wellbeing.
Suggest a new programme to meet the unique needs of students on your module or course
Need something more tailored to your course or module? Or perhaps you have industry connections and need a convenient way for industry mentors to connect to your students? Or maybe you’d like to form a community of practice, learning and growing from your own teaching peers?
You’re not limited to the programmes you see in Vygo… you can request your own!
While programmes are on offer for each faculty and member of the CUG, you may find that you have an idea for a more specific programme to suit your students. In order to get a new programme registered to the Vygo app, you’ll need
- A programme manager – this involves working with Vygo to create the programme and then handling messages from prospective new mentors and mentees interested in the programme (this could be you)
- Mentors – Students browsing the app can get in touch with you to request to become mentors, but it make sense to do an initial call out to students you know to take part in the training to be approved Vygo mentors in your programme
- Mentees – Students browsing programmes will be able to read about your programme, join in and browse available mentors. You can wait for them to discover you or reach out via your faculty or CUG member channels to spread the word
It might sound a little daunting, but there’s actually not a lot of work involved. To get started, you can contact Hannah Gardner from Vygo’s Partner Success team or just get in touch with them via their contact form.
How do students get a mentor?
Students can access Vygo on their desktop or via mobile app. Once they log in with their CUG credentials, they’ll be able to see every programme that’s available to join.
Once they find a programme that seems to fit their needs, they can join it.
They’ll then get to choose whether they’d like to join as a mentor or as someone who would like to find a mentor.
Finally, the student can browse through the available mentors, read more about them and send them a message or request a session with them.
Peer mentoring is a unique offering at the Coventry University Group, giving our students the chance to make meaningful and developmental connections to other people in their journey.
As an educator, just being aware of the support available to your students so you can signpost when appropriate can have a transformative impact on their experience of higher education.