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Tyfy takes peer mentoring online

Tyfy automates university peer mentoring programmes, matching students with mentors based on their unique needs and enabling remote support and collaboration.

Connecting students with questions to students with answers

Tyfy (Third Year First Year) automates peer mentoring in Universities, making mentoring more engaging, more effective, and much much easier

Benefits for students

Mentors have studied the same modules as them and can offer advice based on specific challenges.

By taking the process online, mentoring is easily accessible, especially for students with social communication impairments.

Benefits for mentors

Mentors are reviewed by the students the help, providing tangible evidence of their skills and creating a metric to demonstrate their employabilty.

Benefits for the university

Reduces staff time spent matching and monitoring a standard mentoring programme.

Acts as a ‘first point of contact’ where issues can be reported promptly. Students are signposted to the correct existing student support services. Boosts attainment, retention and graduate employability.

Tyfy increases student engagement with peer mentoring by over 200%.

Tyfy incentivises mentor’s participation by helping them build their employability. Mentors are reviewed by each student they help, enabling them to build a bank of testimonials displaying their employability characteristics to potential employers.

The Tyfy algorithm matches students with mentors based on their shared experiences. The software provides a recommended list of mentors for each student based on modules, but students can also use our search function to find mentors based on other indicators like pastoral queries, extra-curricular activities and shared interests.

Users can ‘report’ any interactions with a mentor or mentee that cause concern, whether this be inappropriate behaviour or a mental health disclosure. Reports are sent directly to a university moderator who can then review the interaction and take standard disciplinary action.

Features

We designed the technical infrastructure of the platform around the needs of their customers; 

accessibility, scale and security.

Accessibility

We want everyone to be able to use Tyfy to connect with other people and with that as a core design guideline, we have built Tyfy to comply with the WCAG 2.1 AA specification using the GOV.UK checklist as our reference point. The following is some highlight from that compliance.

Full Keyboard Navigation

The whole of app.tyfy.co does not require the use of the mouse at all with full support for keyboard navigation. Whether you are onboarding, finding mentors, chatting with others or managing your profile, those who use keyboards, other accessibility hardware or screen readers will have no problem using Tyfy.

Screen readers & increased zoom

All non-text elements like pictures or graphics have an appropriate alternative text so that visually impaired users who use screen readers can understand the context of the content. Additionally, we have ensured that with zoom levels up to 400% all functionality is still usable, although this is not optimal for typical use.

Colours & contrast

While colours are an important part of creating a high-quality and attractive user interface, we’ve made sure that we are never conveying information just through colour as this can cause issues with users who are colour blind or have other visual impairments. Similarly, we’ve made sure that we ensure there is a sufficient amount of contrast between foreground and background colours.

Cloud

Tyfy is hosted by the Microsoft Azure cloud using tried and tested technology for a stable and flexible platform that can support the scale of Tyfy’s customers; large organisations like universities and colleges with thousands of students.

Security

All the data within the Tyfy system is encrypted at rest with the core services being part of a virtual private network with no external access from the internet. The databases have a 28 day backup retention period in which we can access and restore the data from any point within that period of time.

Tyfy.co takes peer mentoring online

Tyfy (Third Year First Year) automates peer mentoring in Universities, makingmentoring more engaging, more effective, and much much easier

Frequently asked Questions

  • Tyfy.co is designed to automate what you already do, letting the tech do the leg work.
  • Processes such as administration of the scheme, matching of mentors with mentees, and monitoring of interactions are all facilitated by the software, dramatically decreasing staff administration time.
  • Academic monitors can have as much or as little input as they want. You’re welcome to get involved with forum discussions and oversee usage data, but you can also let the software run in the background. You’ll be notified if there’s an issue that needs your attention, in which case you can handle it in the same way as if it had been send to your email inbox by a student.
  • In terms of set up, the system will need to be initially linked with your existing tech infrastructure, however after this initial set up, time input will be very low. Mentor training does need to take place, but only in the same way as your existing paper based systems.
  • You’ll be supported with materials and collateral to market the software to you students.
  • Tyfy is designed to funnel students to the correct sources of support within their university, with mentors being trained to signpost them to services like the careers or wellbeing team. This means less time you need to spend directing students to the correct sources of support or dealing with queries that don’t fall under your role.
  • Tyfy works alongside your institution to ensure that (unlike student interactions via Facebook or Whatsapp groups,) you can review any reported issues and have a full record of interactions.
  • By working in tandem with the university, this seriously diminishes students’ inclinations to mis-use the software, because they know their university is watching and can act. In almost four years of pilot studies, there has never been an issue of misuse of the software.
  • However, the systems are in place should an issue arise: tyfy’s monitoring process allows both mentors and mentees to report conversations to an academic monitor – whether its an academic issue or safeguarding issue. These reports are sent immediately to your staff email, and the appropriate action can then be taken, the same way as if it had been reported to you in person.
  • Again, Tyfy acts as an extra point of contact for support; many issues that may have previously gone unnoticed can now be reported and acted upon. For example, if a typically active mentor suddenly stops responding, a mentee can report this issue and the mentor can be checked in on.
  • Tyfy’s monitoring process allows both mentors and mentees to report conversations to an academic monitor – whether its an academic issue or safeguarding issue. These reports are sent immediately to your staff email, and the appropriate action can then be taken, the same way as if it had been reported to you in person.
  • Mentors are not notified if they receive a negative review – this is treated as a reported issue and sent directly to the academic administrator to review, meaning that if the negative review has been unfairly given, the mentor is not unnecessarily penalised.
  • Only positive reviews are published on the mentors’ profile – negative reviews are not publicly available, mitigating the competitive element.
  • Students are matched with mentors based on specific modules, ensuring the mentors they communicate with are highly likely to be able to assist with their query.
  • Universities are strongly encouraged to train their mentors as ‘signposters’ rather than additional academic tutors – there is a distinct difference between pointing a student in the right direction, and teaching them. This distinction is outlined in the terms and conditions upon sign up, and is a reminder displayed on the mentors’ home page.
  • Any issues of academic integrity / incorrect advice etc can also be reported and traced in the usual way.
  • Face to face communication tools like Teams have their place in online learning, but they do not allow for private, targeted communication.
  • The idea of tyfy.co is to automatically match students with mentors who can help them, and there is a mutual understanding that this is the function of the platform. Using platforms like Teams allows for a certain degree of autonomy in ‘asking for help’ that many students do not wish to express.
  • Any match-making done using platforms like Teams is again time intensive for staff.
  • More informal means of communication like Facebook groups again require students to publicly ask for help – the students who most need it are often not willing to do so. It is also generally unclear which person to ask for help; matching using tyfy.co makes this process as easy as possible.
  • Moreover, these platforms cannot be monitored or reviewed by staff, meaning that any instances of academic plagiarism, inappropriate behaviour or even bullying may go unnoticed.
  • The idea of tyfy.co is to enhance the mentoring support you already offer.
  • Firstly, the automatic administration, matching and monitoring functions mean that staff time required to run a mentoring scheme is significantly decreased, and instances such as reported issues and correct matching are far more efficient.
  • By taking mentoring online using a secure and accessible platform, it makes it much easier for students to engage, both from a practical and social standpoint. Rather than having to attend a Teams or face to face meeting at a specific time and place, students can pick up their phone and send a simple message wherever they are and whenever they need help. Socially, the ability to ask for help behind a screen is hugely beneficial for students with social communication impairments who may be uncomfortable or unwilling to ask for help in person.
  • Tyfy enables quick interactions between students, but does not replace other mentoring interactions like face to face meetings. From pilot data, we’ve found that students who engage with tyfy.co are then more likely to communicate with or meet up with their mentor later on, and are also more likely to engage with events such as meet ups organised by the university. The initial introduction made by the software is key.
  • Tyfy.co increases student’s engagement with their mentoring programme by over 200%.
  • Mentors are not notified if they receive a negative review – this is treated as a reported issue and sent directly to the academic administrator to review, meaning that if the negative review has been unfairly given, the mentor is not unnecessarily penalised.
  • This is entirely down to the discretion of the university, and how they like their mentoring programme to be run. Some schools include mentoring as part of their students’ professional accreditation, and so require a PAL based approach. Others prefer mentors to ‘signpost’ their students to sources of support within their university – this can be outlined in mentor training.
  • Mentors are vetted by the university – when sending the list of student emails, simply tell us which students you’d like to be registered as mentors, and this can be translated onto the system.
  • In terms of training, this is administered by the university in the usual way that it would be if the mentoring was taking place in person.
  • However, Tyfy does have several guides on correct conduct and best practise for mentors, including how to use functions such as the ‘report issue’ button.
  • Mentors are required to consent to a basic set of rules – ‘Don’t cheat’, ‘Respond within 24 hours’ and ‘If you can’t help a student, refer them to the right source of support’ upon sign up. These rules are also stated at the top of the mentor home page.
  • Tyfy software has the capability to link up with your virtual learning environment, meaning that the web application is constantly available as a link when students are using university online resources.
  • We also recommend communicating information about tyfy to your students throughout the year using things like emails, university social media, lectures and open days. A full package of resources and support to assist with this is available from the tyfy.co marketing team.
  • Many universities also like to use Tyfy as part of their systems to target at risk students, or embed it into existing compulsory practises.
  • Ideally, link here to case studies page of website. However, general rhetoric …
  • Tyfy has been researched and developed alongside students and academics at UK universities for almost 4 years, and it’s latest round of development is in direct response from staff and students at those universities.
  • Several academic research papers into the benefits of tyfy.co to students have been published, with results including but not limited to: ‘an over 200% increase in student engagement with mentoring’; ‘Tyfy has the ability to reduce the rate of students that drop out of university by 50%’; ‘Over half of students find tyfy.co more efficient than their previous mentoring system’.
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What our Clients say about us

The feedback we get from our clients is consistent. We take real ownership. We happily serve as mentors in tech and Agile. We listen to you so we can understand you business needs.
  • Using the Tyfy our students have easier access to support and guidance from their peers and mentors.

    Katy Lockett

    Keele University, Mental Health Project Officer
  • Tyfy has given me tangible evidence of my skills through reviews, which helps me stand out from the crowd in interviews.

    Holly Botterill

    University of Nottingham, Graduate

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