FEEDBACK OF FIRST YEAR STUDENTS’ TUTORING PROGRAM
Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro/Departamento de Matemática (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-7 July, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:A Tutoring program aims to help students overcome some difficulties that will arise in their school career. In higher education, one of the difficulties that first year students have is their integration in a teaching environment different from the one they were used to until then.
Normally, in higher education we have in collaboration with a tutoring program the Tutor and the Mentor. The first one is a person who is involved in the information management and other functions in higher institution. In addition, the tutor looks at students' problems and helps, helping faster, more efficiently and more quickly. The Mentor is also a student (usually an older student) with more experience and more knowledge about academic life, his main role being to help guide a person who is unaware of the new reality of the academic and social environment where he will be inserted (colleagues of the first year). In this paper, we intend to present a Portuguese case, where a Tutoring program was implemented in higher education at a university in the north of Portugal. The study that we are going to present concerns to two courses: Biomedical Engineering and Basic Education courses. This Tutoring program was applied in the academic year 2019/2020 with eleven students in total, being six of Biomedical Engineering and five of Basic Education course.
We started this study trying to understand whether students already had prior knowledge of the existence of this tutoring program. Moreover, in order to know the opinion that these students have about this Tutoring program, we have attempted to realize not only what advantages and disadvantages that these students recognized during the Tutoring program, but also what the kind of help this program can offer them.
A qualitative methodology was adopted, following a case study design and the data collection instruments were questionnaires with four open questions applied to all students in the middle of academic year (March 2020). We have analyzed the student’s responses with the use of content analysis through the formulation of categories concerning such questions.
Although we had two different courses, the results we obtained were very similar. We found that most of the participants had no prior knowledge of the existence of this tutoring program. The participants did not point out any disadvantage, quite the contrary they were unanimous in stating that this program is an asset, since they can benefit from the precious help in various situations, at a time when they are displaced from their family environment.
The tutor was recognized by the participants as a reference and someone they could always count on until now.
Keywords: Tutoring program, Higher education, Academic integration.