The sessions can be recorded and observed live, giving parents and supervisors a better understanding of the tutor’s behavior and that of their students. Virtual tutoring allows students to receive private, personalized learning that they would not otherwise be able to get. Facilitating tutorials, whether in person or online is a great way to get close with your students and learn where they stand in their education. Teaching tutorials can be the first, and in some cases only opportunity for graduate students to develop and apply their teaching abilities.
Online tutorials can be delivered in a variety of ways: either synchronously, asynchronously, or as a mixture of both. You can offer synchronous tutorials, but you should also provide an alternative asynchronous option by recording the course and making it accessible Virtual tutoring system to students. Please refer to the synchronous and Asynchronous Online Learning and Tools on Keep Learning for platforms and tools that are suitable for different types of online tutoring. Refer to the Privacy and Remote teaching resource for information on privacy requirements when recording a session.
Make sure that the tutorial goals align with the other course objectives and clearly describe what the students are expected to do. These goals should be communicated to students. Encourage your students to actively learn, rather than just “covering the material”. Allow them to try out the key concepts and skills of the course, while receiving feedback.
Spend some time in the beginning of the semester to explain your tutorial guidelines. You can ask for feedback. If you have rules that are not negotiable (e.g. late submission policies), be flexible (e.g. allow some flexibility for the deadlines). Make sure that students have a copy. Be sure to explain the consequences of infringement (e.g. how many points will be deducted).
Start with the learning objectives of your session. This will help you to limit your content for 50 minutes to only 2-3 key concepts. Include a time estimate for each part of your tutorial. Make sure that visual aids, such as a slide show or handouts, are clear and concise. You can use the chalkboard for tutorials on campus if you know how to divide it and use. Prepare a few additional problems and exercises in case the students require more practice. Practice before your tutorial if you have to show how the equipment is used.
Use name tents or ask the students to use their names when they are asking questions. You can also return any assignments personally. If you make students feel like you know them, they will be more interested in the tutorial. You will also notice their absence if you are not there. Tutorials are often the only way for students to get feedback from experts on their work, especially in large classes. Help them uncover misconceptions by engaging with them. Explain where, what and why something is wrong. If possible, put your feedback down in writing.
Tutorial leaders who are nervous may behave too rigidly or in a standoffish way. You can assess your workplace climate by observing how colleagues interact with students. Act naturally. You may feel tempted to over-socialize with students if you’re close in age. You may be required to assess students as part of your work. Be sure that they do not doubt your objectivity.