Reflections on 3rd week’s session using PBL tutorials (10th October)

I have been continuing to tweak my working title for this enquiry. So far I have firmed up on these:

How do students benefit from tutorials in this age of mass intellectualisation?

How can tutorials be effective in a student’s learning process?

The most valuable thing I got out from this tutorial (with Pras and Abbie) is our expectations of a tutorial through the eyes of a student vs tutor? If I can position this enquiry starting with stating/defining what a tutorial could/should be about.

I have looked at a case study from Liverpool Hope Business school where tutorials are not effective and they have turned into mini lectures by tutors. I have also made connections of this with my own tutorials with students where they use the session as a answer to technical questions. So, is there a way to formulate a set of “rules”.  In that case study, the students were expected to read materials, write questions and participate in discussions within the tutorials

I started to think what could help me in setting up student tutorials as the large cohort can be repetitive, confusing for me and restrict my ability to spot distinct individual works.

1. Set up a tutorial form and let them know they need it before tutorial

2. Ask student to write down concise explanation of project

3. Ask student to write what have they read, researched

4. Track their individual progress in a chart, document folder.

5. I need to decide if group or individual tutorial is appropriate.

6. How about student-led discussions? Set time limit for each?

7. Can be a challenge to encourage active participation.

I have started to look into various methods and have researched more in-depth into each approach. I will need to narrow down to just a few. To use these in my enquiry, I will need to draft out a scope of work. At the same time, I am also starting to formulate (initial) questions for the survey/questionnaire.

Next steps

Consider possibilities of further defining working title and perhaps removing the word “effectiveness”. Alternatively, I could change into “uses” instead which allows my enquiry to become an understanding case study. This is what I need to firm up!

Methods so far I have discussed are:

Questionnaire

Backcasting

Behaviour mapping

Observations – tools to use within tutorials?

(I might need to research further into these.)

For my ethics and consent form, I have to include the various impact that I can foresee in using observations. My plan is to ask my peers (tutors) to conduct observations on my behalf. This method might need to have a rethink. So, need to re-iterate on my participant information sheet and consent form. I have stated my action plan but it would be good to redefine or re-iterate if my methods shift.

Reflections on 2nd week’s session on Methods of Inquiry (3rd October)

After leaving the RCA for more than 12 years, today is the day where I get a recap of all the methods used in academic research.

Yes, it’s all coming back now……..

We discussed methods as tools and methodology as approach. This is pretty good to describe what we are going to do in the next few weeks where we will be using multiple methods to do research and collect data. Our discussion includes:(my comments in brackets)

Questionnaire: Specific, intended for the masses and generate metadata study

Photovoice: Open-ended and subjective approach. (Quite like to think that this can provide some sort of grounding for my work in situating the physical context)

Interviews: Permissions from conversations, Visual cues and links for interviewers.(Need to use this to gather my primary data)

Email Interviews: Non real-time and can be done in various languages (Possibly useful for my approach to gather interests in very early stage.)

Observations: Natural Settings (I read about participant and non-participant type where i can use either to gain understanding)

Photo Elicitation: John Berger’s Ways of Seeing Book, Inspire/trigger and choice of images is important. (This can be the outcome of Photovoice and i can use this in Focus Groups later)

Focus groups: Importance of Transcripts and Participation. (Something that I need to read up)

Case studies: Various inputs and a range of data can be collected. (Most suitable/relevant method for my enquiry so far)

Ethnography: People in natural setting. (In the consultancy that I used to work in, we do this often)

Auto ethnography: Self-reflective. (Interesting read: Paris is burning.)

Practice based research: Related to discipline. Practice also means making? John Wood’s 2000 History of Writing in Art Book.

User Journey: Mapping process.

Drawing: Visualisations.

Cultural probes.

Narrative enquiry.

Action research: Problem solving to a certain extend.

My group discussions is with Jenny, Josef, Matt and Laura. We tackled

Questionnaire

and Photovoice.

At the end of the long day, I have started to rethinking my working title and the methods I might use: Photovoice and Observations has their pros and cons. I have also started to think about Sub-questions and biases that I might have during the inquiry.

Focus Groups seems quite a good way to summarise and position the data collection. This session will have to be recorded. Participants have to be informed before start of session and I have to remember to request permission to use their words. I need to come up with a Consent form.

We concluded the day with us being Insider Researchers, which does provides an empathetic perspective on our inquiry which can be challenging…

Reflections on Marton, F., Hounsell, D. & Entwistle, N., (eds.) …  (1984), Chapter 12: Enabling and Shaping Understanding through Tutorials (by Charles Anderson).

link to text here

This text focuses on the nature and quality of student experience of a tutor led discussion group. Certain parts of the text also bring my attention to tutorials being a common staple of the British higher education, so how do we make it inclusive , especially for international students.

After reading this, one of the question that I have is the role of tutors in a tutorials?  How do I enable tutorials to become active learning and encourage students to start to think critically. Perhaps, the ultimate aim for a tutorial IMO would be to encourage independence and gain confidence as you progress.

Work by Ambercrombie (1974 and 1960,p70) has set the precedence of how tutorials encourage spontaneous expressions by students  where they become a climate where all participants can listen and speak  (Nias, 1993, p117)

One of the key aspects I uncover is that In tutorials, teachers are supposed to “teach” which makes me slightly nervous. Students look upon you for expert knowledge in in the discipline of Product Design. Students prefer tutors whom are Empathetic with their problems, not someone who is too “clever” to care about students work.

Tutors inspires and constructs and build upon students problems, allowing the student to think independently.

To conclude, I really liked what Charles wrote here:

“While some students stressed the value of tutors insisting on the very clear and precise formulation of statements, including the exact use of technical terms, others commented favourably on tutors who widened out and enriched discussion, introducing new aspects to debate and encouraging a more differentiated view of topics which had surfaced in discussion.”

Reflections on the 1st Week of Self-Initiated Project (26th September)

I started to think about this small scale inquiry which can be relevant to my job i.e. teaching product design undergraduate students. There is a lot of focus on my practice and my chosen project which is a question about how tutorials can be effective.

During this session, I had a discussion with Sophie, Makbule and Josef. (Makbule and Josef has been in my same T&L module so we sort of know each other well and I also have peer-observed Josef and vice versa) Our discussion touches on the possible methods of learning, knowing yourself and your student and also how our disciplines teach students (in general) I have the largest teaching cohort and I see this as quite different from theirs.

The image above captures my research problem and how my peers contributed to the discussion. (This act of “crowdfunding” my work is very enriching and I could use these method in my teaching too!) There were comments about who/what has written texts on tutorials and YES, I did EXACTLY this prior to this session.

1.  Ziniel, Curtis E. & Ghalib, Asad K. (2016) Student-led tutorials and their implications on learning and teaching. In: Mixed Methods International Research Association Conference (2016), 4th August 2016, Durham University. 

2.  Dienes, Z. (1997) Student lead tutorials: a discussion paper. Falmer: School of Experimental Psychology, University of Sussex

3.  Collier, K.G. (1983) Management of peer group learning. Syndicate methods in HE, Guildford Society for Research in Higher Education.

4. Marton, F., Hounsell, D. & Entwistle, N., (eds.) …  (1984), Chapter 12: Enabling and Shaping Understanding through Tutorials (Charles Anderson).

5. Topping K.J., (1996), The effectiveness of Peer Tutoring in Further and Higher Education: A typology and review of the literature Higher Education 32, 321-345

(Some of these texts are old and I have actively searched for recent ones to see if I can unpack more interesting readings.)

I see the mass intellectuality as a main issue in my pursuit of this topic. Since I do not necessary have a good research question, I have started to generate a few, which I have listed below (my comments in brackets):

1. How tutorials can inspire creative Product Design education?

2. What happens after a lecture? Answer: tutorial?

3. Why tutorials is an effective learning method?

4. Tutorials in mass education(intellectuality)?

5. Can learning be achieved through tutorials?

6. In what ways can tutorials be a way to learn in creative education?

7. Exploring methods to enable tutorials to be part of a student’s learning process.

8. How can the use of tutorials enhance the students’s learnings?

9. What is a tutor’s role in tutorials?

10. Understanding tutorials in creative education. (too broad)

The intent is to reinforce what I am thinking: about tutorials, student-centred and what Brian Eno (via our tutor) said about knowledge acquisition through Shared gENIUS (SCENIUS). The comments written in red about what effective and actionable means does make me stop and think what I want to enquire about tutorials.

My Problem Based Learning group consists of 3 students. We started to concept map our projects individually and mine looks like this below:

The mapping allows me to think about a tutor being a facilitator in a tutorial and also what it means to be inclusive in a tutorial. I understood some international students is not familiar with this learning method. On another note, I am intrigued by student-led tutorials and I have been reading more about this method.

The keywords I have used to search for articles are:

1. Peer Driven Tutorials

2. Tutorial Policy

3. Documentation in Tutorial sessions

4. Small group tutorials

5. Discussion Groups

6. Constructive tutorials