Information for Current PASS Leaders
When and Where
You can find the standard time for PASS sessions on the UG timetable. The first PASS session is in the second week of semester 1. You will be informed beforehand about your group of first-year students, the other PASS leader(s) you will be working with, and where you will be meeting. Each session should last for about an hour.
Each week, you should go to SSO to pick up an attendance list and find out useful stuff (see below). Please get your students to sign in on the attendance sheet. It will be collected by a PASS coordinator at the end of the session.
If you wish, you may change the time and place for your PASS session freely, provided that your fellow leaders and group members all agree to the new arrangements. In the past, some PASS groups have met in local coffee shops or even the pub.
Sheets of exercises relating to material being studied by the first year students are supplied for use in the PASS sessions via Moodle, and "crib sheets" for PASS leaders are available there which give notes on the answers and suggestions for discussion points. You are free to use the sheets in your sessions or not. If your students have other questions that they would like to discuss, you should feel free to ignore the exercise sheets altogether. You can use your photocopy cards to supply printed sheets to your group for a particular session if you wish.
Collecting Attendance at PASS Sessions
Each week you will be supplied with an attendance sheet which we ask you to complete, with details of which of your students has attended.
Since there is no penalty for not attending PASS sessions, why do we bother to collect attendance records? We use this information in two ways. One is to monitor how well the PASS scheme is going in any given year. If attendance at sessions tails off by more than the expected amount, then that is a sign that we need to make some changes to the PASS scheme, to shake things up and try to generate more interest.
The other way in which we use the attendance records is for assessing the affects of the PASS scheme in the long term. For example, such records allow us to look for clues as to whether attendance at PASS has a beneficial effect on exam results. When we use attendance data in this way, it is always anonymised and aggregated, and we never examine the attendance of individual students.
We use Moodle as a repository for PASS sheets, and it also provides discussion forums for first year students as well as PASS leaders. All PASS Leaders are urged to participate in any discussion topics across the range of course units; whatever is of interest or in your area of expertise. For those of you that haven't heard of it, Moodle is located at moodle.cs.man.ac.uk, with access via your school username and password. Once logged on, you will find a dedicated PASS discussion forum for each 1st year course unit. There are also private hidden resources available only to PASS leaders that will help you to be better prepared to facilitate your sessions, and to give confidence in dealing with topics that you are not knowledgeable about. PASS leaders can also download and print specific questions and answers related to any of the course units. These can then be used in PASS sessions, to help you cover the material that is of most value to your students.
The PASS Coordinators for the 2013/2014 session are:
They will be helping to ensure that the sessions run smoothly, collecting feedback from leaders as to the success of the scheme and organizing the advertising of the PASS scheme. So, if you have any queries about PASS, they are the people to speak to first.
The role of a PASS leader is a challenging one. In running the study sessions, you will need to strike a balance between doing all of the work for your students and not giving them any help at all. You will also need to cope with the fact that the members of your group will all have very different learning styles, not to mention personalities - and will come from a variety of backgrounds. How will you deal with the three students who attend every week but don't say anything? Or the over-confident student who talks all the time but rarely to much purpose? How will you encourage your students to share what knowledge they have, and to feel comfortable having a go at unfamiliar exercises in front of the group?
Rather than throw you in at the deep end, several compulsory training sessions have been arranged by the University, to help all leaders to develop and practice the skills needed for PASS. During these sessions, you will receive training in group working techniques and facilitation skills. You will also have the chance to discuss the different ways in which people learn, your role as a PASS leader and how this differs from the teaching role of academic staff.
You will also be sent information about a meeting of just Computer Science PASS Leaders either instead of the PASS session in week 1 of semester 1, or at another time before the first session. At this session, you will be able to meet with the other PASS leaders, and discuss how the PASS sessions will be run.
Student Enterprise Awards Evening
As a token of recognition for your hard work as a PASS leader, you will be invited to attend the annual Student Enterprise Awards Evening, at which you will be presented with a certificate, confirming your involvement in the PASS scheme. This evening provides an opportunity for student leaders and staff coordinators from all departments which operate a PASS scheme to come together informally to relax after all the hard work of the PASS year. There is also usually a buffet and live music.
Details of the date and venue for this year's award ceremony will be posted here when they become available. The Award Evening is usually held some time early in May.