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(This is presented at Mixed Methods International Research Association Conference (2016), 4th August 2016, Durham University.)
This study uses sequential mixed methods to conduct a study on how tutorials can be part of teaching & learning for 1st and 2nd year students. In the first instance, students can mistake tutorials for mini lectures and this can confuse the main purpose of a tutorial. Here, at these tutorials, students are expected/ supposed to lead discussion. Students start as a pair and then subsequently speak on their own. Students have to come prepared with questions for discussion. The study reveals that first year students were appreciative of this model and allows them to build confidence speaking in front of the class. First year students are also much more receptive to such teaching than second year.
Tutorial attendance and active participation.
There are also discussions on how the awarding of marks for attending a tutorial can be an incentive and spur engagement. IMO, this could also challenge the learning behaviours of a student where they will spend more time on this preparation instead of focusing on discipline specific projects/tasks. I think if this is a final year student attending this tutorial, this could be beneficial for their final outcome of their project as preparation could help them position their work and rationale.
How it is conducted.
This studies research into practicalities and how it is carried out starting with a questionnaire, then a focus group.
“The survey instrument was administered towards the end of the academic session in the form of printed questionnaires. These were distributed and collected during tutorial sessions by the relevant tutors. Complete confidentiality and anonymity were guaranteed as no student details were captured. Moreover, the tutor left the room to return towards the end to offer privacy………For our study, we used the structured questionnaires as instruments to capture the quantitative element, whereas the focus groups led to the generation of qualitative data. “
The focus group reveals that tutor ’s subjectivity and how some tutors may mark differently than others. This is true when it comes to my own personal experiences as some students tend to stay away from certain tutors when they tend to have less expertise in specific topics/areas of studies. However, in this study, students acknowledge some differences in tutor marking is inevitable.