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The value to students of drop-in tutorials to support assessment

Project leader(s): 
Maria Townsend

Most online tutorials have a structured didactic approach and are a top-down approach to learning. The online environment can also hinder student active participation in tutorials for a variety of reasons. However, students still see these types of tutorials as valuable to their learning but are consuming them in different ways, such as reviewing tutorial recordings.

This project aims to assess the place for less formal drop-in tutorials to support assessment, essentially a bottom-up approach, where the students lead the direction of the tutorial. These will be to complement the existing tutorials, rather than to replace them.

The tutorial strategy for U116 will be modified to include a drop-in tutorial, in addition to the usual tutorials, in the week before the submission date for each TMA. This will be replicated across all clusters. As successfully completing TMA01 is can be a key indicator for module completion two drop-in tutorials, per cluster, will be timetabled before TMA01 to increase accessibility to students. The intention is that the drop-in tutorials will not be recorded, as recordings of the structured tutorials will be available for those who are not able to attend the drop-in tutorials.

The intention is establish whether students attend drop-in tutorials and if, and how, they value them as an additional support mechanism for assessment. This is to inform future tuition strategies on U116 and other modules. Furthermore, the experience of the tutors facilitating the drop-in tutorials will be gathered, in order to disseminate lessons learned to tutors and module teams. This will aid future design of tuition strategies and provide development for tutors.

It is anticipated that the outcome for students attending the drop-in tutorials could be increased confidence in their learning and assessment, improved results and a higher probability of completion. For some tutors there may be anxiety inherent in a tutorial where direction is handed over to students. However, by focussing the tutorials on assessment this should be minimised, particularly for tutors who are familiar with the module.

Maria Townsend, Wendy Berndt and Emma Champion poster (PDF)