British higher education has always had a reputation for good personal tutoring but, as Mike Laycock writes: “… the personal tutor system has been under strain for some time.” In this extensive literature survey he extracts the core issues, such as which model a university might be using, who is doing the tutoring, what sort of tutorial relationships are they forming, what might be the benefits and the costs, and how any system might be supported. He analyses the various models which are being deployed and offers many case studies which show recent and interesting developments. In particular, he explores the relationship between personal tutoring and widening participation, retention, the first year experience, on-line and distance learning and Personal Development Planning. He also explores the business case for investment in this area, and the staff development implications of the models in use. The special is also intensely practical, as Mike Laycock summarises his survey with a full set of recommendations for future action. The bibliography comprises nearly 200 items, giving the full background to this vitally important subject.

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Mike Laycock


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