Exploring the use of different styles of tutorial to enhance student engagement

Haresnape, Janet; Wallace, Janette and Moorman, Fiona (2022). Exploring the use of different styles of tutorial to enhance student engagement. In: The 3rd Annual STEM Teaching Conference, 2 Mar 2022, [Online].

Abstract

The core tuition strategy for LHCS modules includes cluster tutorials which are based on the module materials, and tutor group tutorials which are usually more skills based. These tutorials aim to provide information and help students develop skills which will enable them to succeed in their learning and do well in the module assessment, and are often content heavy and formal in style.

Student success can be supported in other ways such as learning in informal environments, via an enriched tuition programme, and interaction with peers. This informal learning can encourage student engagement and confidence and help build communities, something especially missed by students and staff during the pandemic. Increasing student numbers in recent years have resulted in more tutor tuition time than required to deliver core tutorials, thus providing Module teams with an opportunity to pilot different tutorial styles on different modules to enhance the student experience and support student engagement.

The alternative tutorial styles piloted include:
• Informal module-related tutorials at level 1, 2 and 3 where module wide tutorials were loosely based on module topics and intended to stimulate interest and discussion rather than cover any specific aspects of the module materials. These were introduced to encourage student engagement and build confidence and community. They also enabled tutors to share their own individual expertise and experience and provided an enhancement opportunity for students.
• Informal drop-in/Q & A tutorials at level 2 and 3 specifically relating to module content to support students with difficult concepts and/or to provide a space for discussions. These provided opportunities for students to ask questions and clarify areas that they might have struggled with.

In this workshop we will discuss different tutorial styles which can make learning more participatory, dialogic, collaborative, and active, and in some cases may even facilitate a more authentic and critical learning experience.

We will outline our perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of each tutorial style we have used and summarise feedback we have received on each from students and tutors. The workshop will give participants the opportunity to think about the use of these alternative tutorial styles in their own modules, and to consider which might work well in their context.

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