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Unit information: International mentoring in 2021/22

Unit name International mentoring
Unit code PHYS30024
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Schwarzacher
Open unit status Not open

Core Physics I:Mechanics and Matter PHYS10006; Core Physics II: Oscillations, Waves and Fields PHYS10005.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit gives Bristol undergraduates an opportunity to mentor (and learn from) groups of students studying physics overseas. Each Bristol mentor works with a small group of overseas students (typically 4-6) who are studying physics at A-level or equivalent. Overseas students come from carefully selected overseas schools and colleges, who identify those of their students who would most benefit from the scheme to participate in the groups.

After receiving a short briefing covering good practice as well as potential cultural sensitivities, the Bristol mentor typically delivers 6 x 1-hour tutorials spread over around 12 weeks. These are scheduled at mutually agreed times and delivered via Skype or some alternative mechanism. The topics are normally suggested by the overseas students and involve the mentor discussing material the group has already encountered in their course, working through exercises with the group, giving the group a taster of more advanced topics and spending some time on more general conversation e.g. about student life in their respective countries. The tutorials are delivered in English.

The aims of the unit are to give the mentor experience of communicating and explaining material that is familiar to them in a small group environment. This is a valuable transferable skill. At the same time, it should both reinforce and challenge their understanding of key basic concepts in physics. The overseas students will benefit both directly from additional subject-specific teaching and the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into their physics curriculum, and indirectly from the opportunity to work with and ask general questions of a mentor from an initially alien background.

Note that students taking the Physics Education unit PHYS39332 are not permitted to take this unit.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Student mentors will be confident teaching familiar material in a small group environment. They will develop key skills such as giving clear verbal explanations at a level appropriate to their audience and coming up with appropriate analogies to illustrate important concepts. Their cultural sensitivity will be enhanced.

Teaching Information

The key component of the unit will be the practical experience of delivering tutorials. Before commencing these, students will receive a briefing from the unit director or deputy explaining the aims, implementation and assessment of the unit. The briefing will also provide advice as to good practice as well as potential cultural sensitivities specific to the overseas country in question. The unit director or deputy will read the students’ diaries and provide formative assessment at the midpoint of the unit.

Assessment Information

Students will be expected to keep a diary of their tutorials, describing the material covered including any exercises worked through, any particular difficulties encountered by their mentees, and how they resolved these through explanations and examples. They should also describe how they prepared for the tutorial, which would typically involve background reading and preparing exercises. Up to 500 words per tutorial would be appropriate. Two staff members will read the diary and assign an agreed mark on the 21-point scale after interviewing the student to answer any questions arising from the diary.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHYS30024).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.