About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4977-4983
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain

'DISTANCE TRAVELLED VERSUS THE DISTANCE TRAVELLED': USING A CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO TUTORIAL ORGANISATION TO ENHANCE THE STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE WITHIN THE CLASSROOM LEARNING SPACE

S. Brownhill

University of Derby (UNITED KINGDOM)
In an effort to remain both competitive and attractive to prospective and established students, Higher Education institutions, both at a national and international level, are actively seeking innovative ways ‘of improving the student experience and student progression/retention’ (National Audit Office, 2002 in Stevenson, 2009: 117).

Tutorials are an ‘integral part’ (Robinson, 2008: 59) of the student experience for taught modules on an undergraduate practice-based degree at the University of Derby. Traditionally these take place following the taught input for the module to ensure students are adequately prepared to engage in their module coursework. Feedback from students has highlighted how many perceive the physical distance travelled and the time taken to reach the University for a ‘15 minute tutorial slot’ as outweighing the actual value of the tutorial attended. Additional concerns linked to pressures on finite resources in the University library and effective (quiet) learning spaces for students to study resulted in the development of an innovative Tutorial Stations system (TSS) to positively address these areas of consideration. The TSS allowed students to access and engage with a range of academic literature (e-based and hard copy), anonymised previous student assignments, academic support, collaborative discussion and private/group study.

The aim of this research was thus to critically evaluate the TSS by exploring students’ perceptions of the value and benefits of tutorials prior to, and post, their active engagement with the system as part of a research based taught module. Two key objectives were used to drive the direction of the research:

1.To explore students’ perceptions of tutorials as part of their learning experience on taught modules.
2.To evaluate the perceived ‘preparedness’ of students to undertake coursework following their engagement with the TSS.

The research embraced a mixed method approach (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 2003) to data collection, using ‘converging lines of enquiry’ (Yin, 2003: 98) to explore and address the overall research aim and objectives. A staged approach (Clough and Nutbrown, 2007) was utilised:

Stage 1: 56 semi-structured questionnaires to establish a pre-existing baseline of students’ perceptions of tutorials and their value as part of taught modules
Stage 2: 2 non-participant observations of students engaging with pre-existing arrangements for tutorials and the TSS
Stage 3: Analysis of documentary evidence to gauge students’ perceived ‘preparedness’ to undertake coursework and their subsequent attainment

Research findings suggest that whilst students acknowledged the value of tutorials in terms of helping them to achieve better grades, there was strong opinion about the way these should be organised (tutor-led as opposed to student driven) and what takes place during them. Student engagement with the TSS resulted in:

• A significant increase in the amount of time students were engaged in tutorial-based activities – 80% accessed the stations for an hour or more
• 100% of respondents found the TSS valuable
• 82% felt well prepared or very prepared for the writing of their module coursework

Whilst there was student calling ‘[t]o keep using the tutorial station method. It was much much better than the previous method of 15 mins’ (student’s written comments), more research is needed to evaluate the positive impact of the system on student attainment.
@InProceedings{BROWNHILL2012DIS,
author = {Brownhill, S.},
title = {'DISTANCE TRAVELLED VERSUS THE DISTANCE TRAVELLED': USING A CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO TUTORIAL ORGANISATION TO ENHANCE THE STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE WITHIN THE CLASSROOM LEARNING SPACE},
series = {4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN12 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-695-3491-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {4977-4983}}
TY - CONF
AU - S. Brownhill
TI - 'DISTANCE TRAVELLED VERSUS THE DISTANCE TRAVELLED': USING A CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO TUTORIAL ORGANISATION TO ENHANCE THE STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE WITHIN THE CLASSROOM LEARNING SPACE
SN - 978-84-695-3491-5/2340-1117
PY - 2012
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2012
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN12 Proceedings
SP - 4977
EP - 4983
ER -
S. Brownhill (2012) 'DISTANCE TRAVELLED VERSUS THE DISTANCE TRAVELLED': USING A CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE APPROACH TO TUTORIAL ORGANISATION TO ENHANCE THE STUDENT LEARNING EXPERIENCE WITHIN THE CLASSROOM LEARNING SPACE, EDULEARN12 Proceedings, pp. 4977-4983.
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