FOLLOWING AN EXPERIENCE WITH TUTORING PROGRAM IN HIGHER EDUCATION
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:A Tutoring Program is common strategy in several institutions of higher education. A great mission of such kind of program is to promote students’ academic success, especially in the transition from upper secondary to higher education. In this age group, students show some difficulty in integration, both in the social aspect as in academia. With this type of program we try to fill these difficulties so that our students feel good at university, are well oriented in academic activities and become well-educated citizens.
Etymologically, tutoring means to protect and defend. It is exactly the main goal of the implementation in higher education. We want to protect and defend our students from the first year of higher education and follow their “life” until they finish their cycle of studies.
This kind of programs involves teachers – Tutors – and also older students – Mentors – (normally, a mentor is a later year’s student).
The tutor has a crucial role in this kind of program, become responsible for supervision of a mentoring team, and usually,follows the academic course and the academic performance of the students and look for solutions to problems detected.
The mentor is an older student of the same Degree Course of the students who helps the academy in their reception, supporting the development of a culture of participation and involvement in their academic life.
In this paper we continue the study started in the academic year 2015/16 implemented in a Portuguese University, in north of Portugal, with five students of the Degree of Biomedical Engineering.
As it happened in the academic year 2015/16, this program took place in 2016/17 and we had five meetings with these students and the respective tutor. Unfortunately there was not any meeting with the students, the tutor and the mentors.
We intend to investigate what are the advantages and the disadvantages of the implementation of this program and what kind of help was offered to students in the academic life. Also, we want to compare the results obtained from these students after the second year of the implementation of this Tutoring Program with the results obtained in the first year.
The methodology adopted was qualitative, following a case study design and the data collection instruments were two questionnaires survey, applied to the same students, at the end of the academic years 2015/16 and 2016/17. Data analysis was focused on the students' responses to the surveys implemented, using content analysis through the formulation of categories concerning some questions included in the questionnaires.
The results obtained confirmed the perception that these students already had of this program in the previous year. These students found that the program exceeded their expectations, expressing advantages such as a great help in student integration in higher education, a great support to academic and personal level, help in solving problems in an effective way, help to obtain and understand better the information on the operation of higher education institutions. It should be noted that the participants of this study do not report any disadvantages in the tutoring program. Unfortunately the poor participation of mentors already highlighted in the previous year was once again referred to as a negative aspect of this program, which, in our view, should be taken into account by the institution.
Keywords: Tutoring Program, Higher education, Academic integration.