The Student Guide Programme is Heriot-Watt's peer-assisted learning (PAL) scheme at our Edinburgh and Borders campuses.

The aim is for Year 3 and above students to give academic, social, and transition support to Year 1 and 2 students. PAL is a model that promotes cross-year support between students on the same degree programme. It encourages students to support each other and learn cooperatively under the guidance of students who are in later years.

This programme is being piloted in a selection of schools and departments in the 2019/20 academic year.

What is a student guide?

Student guides (SGs) are students in Year 3 or above of their programme who help students in Years 1 or 2 with their studies. They give extra support alongside what the University already offers. As current students, they can give help and advice based on their own first-hand experience.

An SG will be proud to be a Heriot-Watt student, keen to help other students, and will have a good understanding of the core topics in their subject area. SGs will also be keen to develop their personal and professional skills through extra-curricular activities.

What is a student learner?

A student learner (SL) is a student in either Year 1 or 2 who is part of the student guide programme and receives support from a student guide.

Benefits for student learners

  • More chances to develop skills related to your degree
  • More academic support
  • More chances to work with your fellow students
  • Making the change to university life easier

Benefits for student guides

  • Help your job prospects
  • Gain valuable leadership experience
  • Chance to help other students 
  • Build on your own learning from previous years
  • Develop your graduate attributes
  • Be a key part of the student experience at Heriot-Watt

Student guide pilot programme

The scheme is currently being piloted in a several schools and departments:

Engineering and Physical Sciences

In EPS, the pilot is available to new physics and mechanical engineering students.

Mechanical Engineering

All new students will be allocated an SG for semester 1 and will be placed into study groups. Study groups led by an SG will be offered every two weeks. Only the first study group session is mandatory; the rest are optional, but encouraged.

You will find out about when and where these study groups are taking place from your SG. You will receive emails from them throughout the semester to let you know about upcoming study group sessions. If you are unsure who your SG is, please contact studentsuccess@hw.ac.uk.

Physics

In Physics, all new students will be offered drop-in sessions that run every two weeks for Semester 1 (Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12). These drop-in sessions are run by two or more SGs. These will help students to settle into university life and allow them to ask questions they might be more comfortable asking a fellow student than a member of staff.

The Physics drop-in sessions take place at 15:15 on Wednesdays in JCNF16.

Mathematics and Computer Sciences

The pilot will run for Year 2 Computer Science, Computer Systems, Information Systems, and Software Engineering students. SGs will run open activity and workshop sessions and support students in the transition from Year 1. This will help students learn the skills they need to succeed in their studies, find out more about the field of computing, and keep up-to-date with new and emerging technologies.

To find out more, please contact Hans-Wolfgang Loidl.

Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure, and Society
In EGIS, the pilot will run for Year 1 and 2 biology students, who will be given an SG for Semester 1 and placed into study groups offered every two weeks. Only the first study group session is mandatory; the rest are optional, but encouraged.
You will find out about when and where these study groups are taking place from your SG. You will receive emails from them throughout the semester to let you know about upcoming study group sessions. If you are unsure who your SG is, please contact studentsuccess@hw.ac.uk.
Social Sciences

For Semester 1, new students in Languages and Intercultural Studies (LINCS) will be offered drop-in study sessions that run every two weeks for Semester 1 (Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12). There will be four separate drop-ins, each available for a different group of students at the following times:

  1. British Sign Language (Year 1): Thursday, 10:15-11:15, SR214
  2. British Sign Language (Year 2): Monday, 11:15-12:15, MBG33
  3. Intensive Beginners (learning a language for the first time at university): Monday, 17:15-18:15, DB 115
  4. All other LINCS students: Thursday, 17:15-18:15, EM 306

These study sessions will be run by two or more SGs. They will help students to settle into university life and allow them to ask questions they might be more comfortable asking a fellow student than a member of staff.

Textiles and Design
In TEX, the pilot will run for direct entry students coming into Year 2 and 3. These students will be given an SG when they arrive, and will be placed into study groups. Each SG will run a group for students from each discipline, covering topic areas from the six design courses.

Training for student guides

SGs will need to take part in one two-hour training session before starting their duties.

For 2019, training sessions will take place in May, June, and September. If you have applied to be an SG, please check your emails for further information.

More information

If you would like to know more about the Student Guide Programme please contact studentsuccess@hw.ac.uk.