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Voluntary tutorials: Do they work? Can they work?

Hobson, J. and Abernethie, L. (2002) Voluntary tutorials: Do they work? Can they work? In: Teaching and Learning Forum 2002: Focusing on the student, 4 - 6 February 2002, Edith Cowan University, Perth.


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.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: Teaching and Learning Centre
School of Social Inquiry
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