5 minute read
Tutorials at the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) foster supportive learning and sharing environments to help students excel, both academically and personally.
While subject-specific deep dives and getting to know one’s peers are some of the direct benefits, students can also learn how to optimise their class time.
Four CBE tutors, Elle, Jie, Hamish and Dixin share their insights, including how to make the most of tutorials and best prepare for the semester ahead.
Elle is a PhD student at CBE and the University’s Biological Data Science Institute. She has been a tutor for statistics courses for a few years across several institutions. Her goal as a tutor is to awaken a love of statistics in all her students, even those who are not mathematically inclined.
What should students do to make the most of their tutorials?
They should ask many questions and be honest with their tutor, particularly if they are confused or don’t understand something that their tutors have said.
When I explain something, I often ask “Is this clear?” or “Does anyone have any questions?” but sometimes I’m met with blank stares.
Students should give a nod to their tutor to signal they understand the lesson. Respond, if needed, with "why did you use that formula?" or "no, I’m still confused". Immediate feedback helps tutors to deliver sessions that are personalised to students’ current needs, instead of giving a one-way dialogue.
Jie is a PhD candidate and is currently tutoring ECON1101. She was a recipient of CBE’s Research School of Economics Certificate of Excellence in Tutoring.
What are the key differences and expectations that students should bear in mind when it comes to face-to-face versus virtual tutorials?
It is more difficult to collect real-time feedback in virtual tutorials. I'd like to encourage our online students to speak out or use the Zoom Chat box whenever they have any questions. For students returning to in-person classes, be prepared for a surge in interpersonal interaction. Forming a supportive study group would be a good idea for both online and in-person tutorials.
Hamish is a CBE Lecturer who teaches marketing and information-systems courses. His research focuses on the strategy, transformation and value creation of ecosystem models for business and social impact.
How do you handle a situation where a student disagrees with the answers provided by you or others in the tutorials?
Tutorials should be co-creative, and we should work towards answers together. Students should feel free to constructively question and debate answers from tutors and their classmates. As tutors, we provide solutions, but more importantly, we provide a platform for discussion and stimulate critical thinking. Not all questions are straightforward, and sometimes a tutor may need time to respond or do a little research. I am always more than happy to continue the discussion outside of the classroom.
Dixin is a third-year PhD student and a tutor for a foundation course in financial accounting. He strives to stimulate students’ interest in accounting and improve their learning efficiency.
What do you find the most rewarding about being a tutor?
Teaching benefits students as well as teachers. Tutoring allows me to share my professional knowledge and efficient study methods with others. As a reward, I receive trust, appreciation and inspiration from scores, if not hundreds, of smart brains.
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