Personal Mentor Handbook for SSA

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Personal Mentor Handbook for SSA Powered By Docstoc
					                  Student Development and Support Office

                          2010 - 2011


Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………2

SSC Summary Information, years 1 and 2 ………………………………………………. 3

SSC Summary Information, years 3 and 4 ………………………………………………..4

SSC Summary Information year 5 ………………………………………………………..5

Questions to help with SSA Reflection …………………………………………………..6

Independent SSAs, What happens if a student does not complete an SSA
 and notes on Plagiarism ……………………………………….…………………………7

Notes on Pebble Pad ………………………………………………………………………8

Further information is available on the Personal Mentor Website:

please log on, then click ‘student grades’ and on that next page click ‘Personal
Mentor Information’. This brings you to an A-Z list of useful information.

The GMC requires that a substantial portion of the medical degree is undertaken through
self-directed learning. At Birmingham the self-directed learning, known as the Student
Selected Component, is divided into taught Student Selected Module (SSM) components for
which they receive a mark and have to pass, and Student Selected Activities (SSA) which are
not marked, but which are monitored and successful completion of them is a progress
requirement. Personal Mentors engage with the SSA aspect of the course.

Please note that the Student Selected Component provision is under review and
development, some elements are in the process of change. You will be notified of relevant
material in monthly email briefings, and this document will be kept up to date on the
Personal Mentors Website.

The PM Website is found by going to and selecting ‘student
grades’. This brings you to a (blue) page which contains your PM group information,
photos, exam results. It also has a link (top right) called ‘Personal Mentor Information’
which leads you to an A-Z list of forms, links, advice, policies etc.

General Medical Council goals for SSC

          o   Research skills
          o   Self-directed learning skills
          o   In-depth study outside the core curriculum
          o   Developing confidence
          o   Presenting work verbally, visually and in writing
          o   Careers

The full wording is at:

Please note that for all information given in the summaries below, elements
that involve Personal Mentors are in bold type. The other information is
there to provide an overall picture.

SSA/SSC Summary Information

Year 1   SSAs in year 1 start to develop Learning Skills that will be applied throughout the
         course, and are particularly examined in the Learning Medicine module.
             SSA in November, linked to Integrated Problems. Each Personal Mentor
                 who oversees year 1 and 2 students should receive a reflective report via
                 Pebblepad and provide written feedback. An individual meeting with the
                 student should be arranged: the timeframe is given in the Mentor
                 Calendar. It is very important that Personal Mentors notify Penny Hewlett
                 if a student does not submit the report, as although this SSA is not marked,
                 its completion is a progress requirement and a matter of due diligence.

                 In Semester 2 the students write an assessed essay for Learning Medicine.
                  This is a stand-alone element of SSA, and concerns their learning styles and
                  outcomes overall. Part 1 covers description of student’s learning style and
                  how this affected their studies, Part 2 is analysis of learning style, and
                  reflection of how to improve learning potential. Personal Mentors do not
                  receive or mark this work. However, the skills and insights into learning that
                  form the backbone of this essay should be applied to all SSAs.

                 Taught SSA in Semester 2. Students will send a reflective report on the
                 process of their SSA to their PM, who should provide feedback. The content
                 of the SSA itself will be reviewed by the academic supervisor.

                During the post-exam fortnight in June students will work in groups on a
                 selected topic, and present a poster on the penultimate day of term. There will
                 be no reflective report sent to PMs.

Year 2          SSA in semester 1. Reflective report to be sent to PM, and written feedback
                 provided. Students should meet with their PM, timeframe given in Mentor
                 Calendar. This is the only year 2 Reflective Report you will receive and it is
                 very important that Personal Mentors notify Penny Hewlett if a student
                 does not submit the report.

                Student Project 1 (SP1, 10 credits, a dissertation). Students select from a menu
                 of subject options by the end of October. Topics have academic supervisors,
                 and SP1 has a dedicated week in February. Write-up should be completed by
                 the start of the summer term. Presentations are held in the first week after the
                 Easter Vacation. Students must submit both hardcopy and electronic copy by
                 midday of the deadline. There is a student handbook for SP1.

                The post-exam period is used for a Hospital Preparation course.

Year 3      A hospital based SSA which culminates in a presentation given at the
(GEC2)       hospital, where feedback is also given.

            Student Project 2 (20 credits and not applicable to GEC students, but does
             apply to direct entry dentists). 3 weeks of post-exam work in April/May,
             with essays to be submitted on day 1 of 4th year and presentations
             scheduled by SSC Team. Students who fail SP2 either resubmit or after
             discussion select a new topic. The SP2 results are ratified by the Year 4
             Exam Board at the end of the year, in April.

            NB students might also mention to you the Public Health Project which
             takes place after the exams, but this is not part of the Student Selected

Year 4      Special Study Module Conference Poster. Students can take 5 days through
(GEC3)       the course and the poster is assessed by presentation in April.

            Career Bite. This is done over 4 weeks in year 4. A reflective report
             summarizing the day to day progress should be written (circa 1000 words)
             for their portfolio. Students are expected to keep a daily log of their SSA,
             and use this as a basis for writing their report. Reflective report to be
             discussed with PM. The reflective report is submitted via student
             Intramed, so that the SSC Team can confirm the work has been done
             by the deadlines. Personal Mentors cannot access the student portal, so
             students are advised that they need to send the report to you by email.

            Teaching Project (10 credits, a written reflection). This takes place in CBM
             and is assessed by the CBM tutor.

            Elective Project. This is an SSA with various deadlines for protocol,
             feasibility form, health & safty, ethics approval, local supervisor form, and
             in year 5 write-up of the elective report (5-6,000 words for one individual,
             7-8,000 for a joint project. Please note that students may ask you to
             supervise their Elective Project. This is NOT part of your PM role and
             you must feel free to refuse. You may enjoy supervising one student or
             one subject that is in your field, but please do not take on this extra
             work unless you specifically wish to do so. Students are advised about
             the breadth of contacts they may approach to find a supervisor.

Year 5             Patient Information Leaflet.
                   Ethics and Law Portfolio. 10 Credits. 2 Case Reports.
for PMs            Post Rotation Learning. This includes two elements:

                a) A Clinical Apprenticeship in year 5 includes consideration of how
                   learning is achieved, and this filters into the Personal learning Plan. This
                   is supervised by a Trust-based clinical Supervisor, but: the PM receives
                   a Reflective Report on the Clinical Apprenticeship (deadline 29
                   March 2010

                b) PMs are asked to meet the student and approve the Post Rotation
                   learning plan. (details below) This includes additional clinical time,
                   FY1 shadowing, and use of post-exam period overall. You are
                   advised that the learning should be medical, (not driving or Spanish
                   lessons, for instance). The deadline for the Reflective Report and the
                   Learning Plan to be submitted is 29 March 2010, and the feedback
                   should be given by 04 May 2010. The handbook for this SSA is on
                   the PM website. A proforma has been provided for PM feedback on
                   both elements of the year 5 SSA.
Year 5       Supervision - Your personal mentor
(Selected)   Your personal mentor will oversee your post-rotation learning. S/he will review
Advice to    your reflective report and meet with you to approve your post-rotation SSA learning
Students     plan. You mentor will provide you with formal feedback on your learning plan via
                     Remember that your personal mentor will be supervising more than
                     one SSA student, and will have many other commitments. It is your
                     responsibility to set up meetings at a time that is convenient to them,
                     including booking a room if necessary. You are strongly advised to set
                     up meetings several weeks in advance, especially around holiday times.
                     The timescales for submission of the SSA paperwork are relatively tight
                     and need to be strictly adhered to.

             Putting your post rotation SSA learning plan together
             Working through the questions/suggestions below will help you put together your
             learning plan.
             Step 1: reflect on your clinical ‘apprenticeship’ as far as possible*
             Step 2: reflect on your year 5 learning as a whole

             At the end of these two exercises, you should have a generated two lists: one of
             areas that you need to work on and a second of areas that you would like to work on.
             Step 3: identify your learning priorities
             Step 4: identify activities that will meet your priorities
             Step 5: write your plan - This should be in two parts:
             Part 1: reflective report (including identification on learning needs
             (max 1,000 words or two sides of A4)
             Part 2: proposed timetable of activities
             (in the form of a table, max one side of A4)

Questions to help with SSA reflection:

What value have I got from the experience as a whole?

Did I meet the specific objectives I set for myself?

How has my learning contributed to my achieving the GMC objectives?

What have I learned about planning?

What have I learned about managing my time?

What have I learned about approaches to learning?

What have I learned about my development needs?

Where do I go from here?

How are the skills I’m acquiring preparing me for work as a doctor – Foundation Year 1
and beyond?

Independent SSAs
Sometimes students may speak to you about their wish to take an SSA subject outside of
those arranged by the Medical School. They should be advised to speak to Emma Chambers
to sort out the academic side of this, and then to submit authorized absence or a rotation
request via the Request for Special Placement form, as needed. (All students are invited to
use this form to request, in February, particular placements for the next academic year. This
enables us to assist student for example those with dependents, or medical conditions, or who
need a particular rotation to facilitate special arrangements, as for SSA)

What happens if a student does not complete their SSA?

Procedure Title                Years 1 & 2 SSA – Non-Completers
Programme(s) Involved          MBChB
Programme Year                 1&2
Key Contact for PMs            Penny Hewlett:
 Students that do not complete any self-directed, academic-led, or poster SSAs in Years 1
  & 2 need to be logged by the SSC team, so that alternative tasks can be allocated
 Due to the constrained timetable in Years 1 & 2 the alternative tasks set may not be the
  same as the original SSA
 Students with authorised absences should be set alternative tasks in advance, which should
  be agreed by their personal mentor and their year tutor
 Students with mitigation should be set an alternative task in retrospect, which should be
  recorded as a first sit, and agreed by their SSA lead, SSC Team, and year tutor.
 Students who do not attend compulsory sessions or do not submit compulsory assignments
  to a satisfactory level, without an authorised absence or mitigation, should be set an
  alternative task in retrospect, which should be recorded as a second sit, and agreed by their
  personal mentor and year tutor

Personal Mentors who see year 1 and 2 students from their group therefore need to
advise Penny Hewlett if they have not received an SSA report from any first or second
year students by the deadline given in the Mentor Calendar.


SSC Marked Assessments are passed through TurnItIn (Plagiarism Software), Agreed
by CIG February 2009
Please note that the threshold for Plagiarism is 25% overall or 10% on any individual
element. The software is used as a guide and any infringements will be discussed with the
SSA lead in the first instance. Please note that some students do not understand auto-
plagiarism and might benefit from a reminder!


Outline information is below, but please note that there are step-by-step screenshots available
on the Personal Mentor Website: go to and log in. Select ‘student
grades’ from the left column options, and on the next page select ‘Personal Mentor
Information’. This brings up an A-Z of information. Pebble pad screenshots are under ‘P’.

What is PebblePad?
This is an interactive resource that enables students to log all developments and research as
they undertake their SSAs. Personal Mentors are asked to provide written feedback to pre-
clinical students re their SSA reflective reports. All students and personal mentors have a
pebblepad account. This applies principally to those Personal Mentors who see students in
years 1 or 2.

To Access Pebble Pad
All personal mentors have a pebble pad account. Go to and
enter your normal adf username and password (e.g. hewlettp and my normal password).
Students can search within their account an active directory of staff and opt to share an ‘asset’
with you, generally an action plan and reflective report. You will be able to respond in the
same way – a speech bubble on the page will bring you to a domain into which you can write
your feedback (much as for a blog).

Advice if you encounter a Problem:
You have several options if you encounter any problems with Pebble Pad
   1. Go to the Pebble Pad website at and follow
      information there.
   2. Screenshots of the process of using Pebble Pad are available on the Personal Mentor
      Website. This is found at and selecting ‘student grades’.
      This brings you to a (blue) page which contains your PM group information, photos,
      exam results. It also has a link (top right) called ‘Personal Mentor Information’ which
      leads you to an A-Z list of forms, links, advice, policies etc. Various scenarios are
      given in documents under ‘P’ which should resolve any difficulties.
   3. Contact Penny Hewlett ( She will forward documents or give
      direct advice.
   4. Contact Rob Jones: from the Ed Tech Team, who is the expert
      on this.


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