Pod 2 in the Murray Library is now dedicated, bookable space for Research Coaches to meet with FYRE students.
Pod 2 is located on the first floor of the Murray Library directly behind the Research and ICT help desks. Pod 2 has a whiteboard, monitor, keyboard, and a table and chairs for 4-6 people.
To book Pod 2, research coaches can complete this online request form
NOTE: When Pod 2 is not in use, any student(s) is welcome to the space, but there will be signage to indicate the space is designated for the First Year Research Experience. FYRE students who are working collaboratively but independent of their Research Coach, are encouraged to book a group study room at the University Library.
Finding a mutually agreeable time to meet with students can be challenging. Using an online scheduling tool such as Doodle, can make everyone's life a bit easier.
There are also various tools to use to schedule (e.g. Doodle) and connect online (e.g. WebEx). There is a listing of collaborative technology tools on the digital literacy "Are you Information Savvy" guide.
Research coaches guide and support students through the research cycle with the goal of strengthening student skills. Effective research coaches balance comprehensive knowledge of a specific subject with a desire to help others, empathy, good communication, honesty, enthusiasm, and a sense of humour.
Students can feel vulnerable in asking for help. Though you may establish a peer-centred relationship based on trust and safety between student and research coach, you may be perceived as an authority figure. To avoid misusing your authority, and to avoid breaking that trust and sense of safety, be aware of the following responsibilities:
Special thanks to Liv Marken for allowing us to adapt her tutor training materials
Clear communication is necessary for a successful session where research coach and student feel as though they have been heard and have come to an understanding of the subject. Part of communicating clearly involves deploying signs of active listening, including smiling, eye contact, posture, mirroring, and refraining from looking distracted.
Remember to be patient. You may be ready to help students solve their academic problems, but for the student, feeling listened to and comfortable is often the first and most important step before beginning to tackle the assignment problem(s). Being an active listener will ensure that you first understand the student's problem as the student sees it, making your help more effective.
Communicating clearly involves being honest and forthcoming about your role and limits as a research coach. Refer students to other services if you can’t help them yourself. For example, if a student needs help with Word or Excel, refer them to IT Help, or if a student is having difficulty with the writing process, refer them to the Writing Centre. If you aren’t sure where to refer someone, ask a Student Learning Services staff person, or search for the answer online.
As a research coach who was once or who is currently an undergrad, and as a peer, you are in an excellent place to understand students’ concerns. While you can’t assume that all students are going through what you went through, you use your experience to display empathy.
Showing empathy can be as simple as nodding when they’re complaining about workload, or saying, “it sounds like you're pretty frustrated” when students talk about how tough questions stress them out. Mirroring a student’s statements can help them to feel as though you are hearing them; for example, if a student says that they are having a hard time with an assignment, you might show that you’ve heard them by saying, “it sounds like you’re really concerned about this assignment.” Mirroring can emphasize your peer relationship and may increase student comfort in that it reassures the student that you're listening and trying to understand.
Setting boundaries helps structure the relationship between research coach and learner and informs your students about what you can and cannot do in a coaching session. By sticking to these boundaries, you can be a better coach and avoid confusing the student.
Here are some strategies for setting and maintaining boundaries:
Setting and maintaining boundaries will help you and the student to avoid the frustration that comes from a misunderstanding of roles.
Privacy / Confidentiality
Students have an expectation of, and a right to, privacy when they come to you for help. Sometimes it takes courage and an expectation of trust for them to seek help in the first place. Therefore, you shouldn’t discuss students by name with faculty, instructors, teaching assistants, tutorial leaders, lab instructors, or other students, unless the student gives you permission. Also, make sure to keep any data or papers with students’ information on them in a secure location where other people cannot look at them.
Below are some ethical guidelines to abide by for research coaches.
Please do not: