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Cambridge LibGuides

Tools for Teaching

1-to1 sessions: introduction

The tips, tricks and case studies below relate to 1-to-1 teaching, i.e. an instructor working with a learner individually, often taking the form of a bespoke session designed around the specific needs, circumstances and questions of the learner.

1-to-1 sessions: tips, tricks and case studies

Tips and tricks

  • Ask for as many details as possible before your 1-to-1 meeting (e.g. 'describe what you need help with,' 'where have you tried looking for information?' 'list the specific things you have found difficult,' 'what referencing software are you using?' 'what are the search terms you have used?'). This gives you time to prepare, find answers or solutions to their problems, or suggested starting points before you meet.
  • If possible, have some suggested self-learning activities for the student to complete before your session (e.g. asynchronous online training, tutorial videos or guides, specific LibGuides to look at) -- this can help give them an idea of what will be involved for their problem/assignment/project
  • Check in frequently with the student during your meeting, and make sure they have opportunities to ask questions or say that they don't understand.
  • If possible/relevant, make sure that by the end of the meeting you give them links to any resources that you used or that they might need to use in the future, and make sure that they have saved/backed up any work that they did during the session.

Student and instructor sitting side by side with instructor writing on student's paper

Case study example

1-to-1 support with databases: "Normally students ask for one-to-one sessions when they have a specific enquiry about finding literature or data for their dissertations or projects. Recently I helped a student navigate a new data resource: EPWRF India Time Series. This is a new purchase and replaces IndiaStat. One of the positive aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic is the increased use of Microsoft Teams. It proved really useful in this instance as we were able to share screens and talk face-to-face as we navigated the 'Help' and filter options to construct the search together. The output had initially only given the student a list of dates but I was able to show how to select the parameters need to get a workable output and talk through the student’s specific needs."

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