Six findings of my initial study have implications for my practice as a tutor and perhaps for the practice of others.
As tutors, we can:
- Keep in mind five reasons for making tutorials interactive: reducing isolation, gaining others’ perspectives, staying focussed, learning collectively and developing a student identity.
- Focus on enabling interaction in any way that enables students to test out their ideas, rather than focusing on microphone use.
- Remember the anxieties that even able students have about performing in front of others and getting things wrong. We can develop strategies to minimise this, such as providing opportunities to share ideas with one or two others before sharing them with the whole group or sharing them anonymously.
- Use the webcam at the beginning of tutorials to help students feel that they can build a relationship with the tutor.
- Provide opportunities to work in small groups but make sure that these are well-planned, so all involved can contribute to the discussion.
- Remember that students from other tutor groups attending tutorials may be sensitive to any perceived lack of attention from the tutor compared with the students in our own group.