Tutorials are intensive class sessions, which involve a significant degree of student involvement and engagement. Class sizes are kept small for tutorials; generally less than 30, but ideally much smaller.
Some Schools at RMIT deliver ‘seminars’ rather than tutorials, which are generally longer (two hours, rather than one).
While tutorials vary greatly in different Schools and disciplines, they generally provide opportunities for:
- elaborating concepts and increasing understanding
- sharing ideas and challenging opinions
- becoming aware of different perspectives
- developing problem-solving skills.
Depending on the discipline area, you might incorporate a range of learning activities within a tutorial. For example:
- analysis of a case study
- demonstration of a method
- critique of a theory
- comparison of approaches
- evaluation of a technique
- presentation by an external guest speaker
- incorporation of students’ experiences.
Group and team activities are an important teaching strategy employed in tutorials, and provide students with experiences and capabilities with a ‘work ready’ focus.
Students are expected to contribute significantly to tutorial classes – through sharing personal experiences and opinions, preparing and presenting work, or participating in general discussion. This can be confronting for those who do not feel comfortable speaking out in public, so you might need to consider some methods of encouraging students to contribute.
- Team-based learning is a useful strategy is some tutorial approaches. Read more in this article from Ed magazine.
- Some suggestions for group activities that can be implemented within a tutorial.
- Student-led tutorials, Dr David Mosler, Department of History, University of Adelaide.
- Dawson, S (1998), Effective Tutorial Teaching: A Guide for University and College Tutors, RMIT Publishing: Melbourne. (Available online via Informit. RMIT login required)