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Voluntary tutorials: Do they work? Can they work?

Julia Hobson and Loraine Abernethie
Murdoch University
An experimental approach of making tutorials voluntary in a large first year unit will be reported on. The dilemma to be addressed is: how to deliver effective tutoring, grade essays and maintain standards in this situation.

The underlying dilemma, which the experiment of voluntary tutorials attempted to address, was of students coming to tutorials under prepared and with little enthusiasm, commitment or motivation for the unit. By making tutorials voluntary the hope was that keen and interested students would participate and tutorials would therefore be of a better quality. This was not the case. So few students attended there was insufficient for a sound discussion to develop, different students attended over the semester so there was no consistency within the class and the tutor could not prepare lessons in advance.

The presenters will detail the difficulties with this experiment and open the discussion to address the underlying dilemma of how to motivate students to prepare properly for tutorials in first year units with large classes.

Authors: Julia Hobson, Lecturer, Teaching and Learning Centre, Murdoch University
Dr Loraine Abernethie, School of Social Inquiry, Murdoch University

Presentation format: Dilemmas in teaching or teaching/learning research

Please cite as: Hobson, J. and Abernethie, L. (2002). Voluntary tutorials: Do they work? Can they work? In Focusing on the Student. Proceedings of the 11th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 5-6 February 2002. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2002/abstracts/hobson-abs.html

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Created 4 Dec 2001. Last revision: 1 Feb 2002. HTML: Roger Atkinson [ rjatkinson@bigpond.com ]