When it comes to being a good tutor there is no perfect formula. However, we all know someone who seems to have the gift of making his or her subject fascinating and engaging. So what is it that students are really looking for in a tutor?
Here are some insights for Macquarie academics:
- Students engage best with tutors who remember their name.
Something as simple as taking the time to learn the names of your students can make a big difference. This personal connection can be the driving motivation for a student coming to class.
- Students learn more from weekly assessments worth 10% than from exams worth 60%.
Heavily weighted exams tend to encourage ‘learning to pass exams’ rather than learning for understanding. Ongoing assessment encourages students to develop and maintain knowledge and understanding over time. It also gives students an idea of their progress throughout the term, and of which areas they still need to work on.
- Students see huge opportunities with PACE.
They value the chance to incorporate real world experience into their degree and get external recognition for it. They wish there were even more PACE opportunities available.
- Get hands-on.
What’s really important is being challenged to learn. If possible, students often enjoy putting their knowledge into practice. If all they wanted was information, they’d just buy the textbook. Giving good feedback also gives a sense of achievement or accomplishment, (depending on the outcome!).
- Be aware of what students are learning across their whole program.
Students don’t want to repeat the content they’ve just covered in the previous unit.
- Students appreciate face-to-face time.
It’s pretty much the only thing you can’t get online these days, and students say that they learn more in a ten minute discussion with a helpful tutor than in ten pages of readings.
- Macquarie needs to consider employment opportunities for its international students, as well as ongoing English Language support.
One great example of this is an optional tutorial that goes over key terms and phrases relevant to the unit at hand.
- Macquarie lecturers should have more fun!
Students really enjoy participating when tutors are clearly passionate about what they are teaching. It gives them a level on which to connect, as students are generally passionate about the subjects that they choose too.
- ‘Rent-a-discussion’ works.
Mandatory commenting in online forums as part of assessment, aka ‘rent-a-discussion’, does actually help keep students engaged, as students often feel less pressure when voicing an opinion online than in person.
- A fantastic lecturer can really make the student experience amazing!
Extra learning resources, perfectly administrated units and flexible study are all valuable additions to the Macquarie experience, but teachers are what make the difference. It all comes down to learning and teaching in its purest form, and finding enjoyment in that sharing of knowledge.