Lisa* works with young people. She has dyslexia. She sometimes discusses what she is learning with her sister and also her manager at work, who supports her by checking her assignments. She hardly ever contacts her tutor. She has no contact with other students outside of tutorials and does not post on forums, although she reads them. She describes herself as a ‘silent student’. Face-to-face tutorials are too far away for her to attend. She completed a diary and was interviewed about the second and third tutorials in the module. Here are her thoughts about them in her own words.
* Lisa chose her own pseudonym.
Tutorial 2 was very assessment based, so it went over what is included and how to set up an assignment and it broke it down, so like intro should be 10%. I didn’t take too many notes because I also do my own spider diagrams. I’ve got both of them in front of me and on this one, there’s not a lot to do with the assignment topic, it was very much like how to set it out and how to set paragraphs out and then a little bit on referencing, it’s very factual… as to what they were looking for. There was lots to do. I loved the anonymous add-in coz I don’t really write in the chat box. I do get involved when they ask a question and then you just post it on the actual slide for everyone to see. We had to watch videos before on this one because the videos were quite long if I remember rightly. It was good, but I enjoyed my second one a lot better [laughter].
For tutorial 3, I think it was the tutor. I think it was very much to do with them, linking it to their work, the assignments their students had done and saying like, ‘I noticed that a lot of you were doing such and such and here’s how to change that’. It was a lot less factual than the first one. It was what I needed, so a lot about the social and health, and how to link them, and how to think critically, literally just by asking one question.
My ideal tutorial would be a lot more about the course cos I can find a lot of the stuff that was in the first tutorial online, like all of the help on how to set out your assignments and things like that. I’d love more tutorials, just to sort of help focus all the notes and everything that’s going through my head. It really sort of brings them together being able to listen to someone else talk about it.
The second one was an hour and a half, and I found that I concentrated better because it was like bang, bang, bang, bang. It was constant, whereas the first one was two hours and we had a break in the middle, which is fine cos obviously it was longer, but it was very sort of spread out… there was no real rush, like we were having lots of conversations and obviously, for someone who doesn’t get involved in the chatter very much, it was quite long.
I hold back from the chatter because of my spelling. I’ve always feared putting stuff out there without it being checked. Obviously, I know they’re not going to be sitting there going, ‘Oh look at that person’, but it’s that, and I prefer being the ‘silent listening to the tutor’ kind of…. I don’t really go into tutorials with too much questions. It’s more I need like facts and I need just someone to literally guide me into like what I’m already thinking is right, just that sort of backup and just going over like different tips on when we’re looking at case studies.
One activity that we did in the second tutorial was the tutor had a table and we group watched a video, which I thought was really nice. It was only like four minutes, the first video and there was a table and one half was the wider social factors and then the other side was effects on the young person and that exercise really sort of gave me a tip that when I watch videos, I should sort of make a table and link it to my assignment. We watched a second video about practice and there were some questions on the side and I’d never thought to ask: ‘what limits the effectiveness of their work?’ And the tutor said, ‘If you add that into your assignment and if you actually ask that specific question, it can build up your critical thinking’, which was really, really helpful. And so they’re the two main things that I took from that tutorial. To go back and re-watch videos with a group and then go back through that, I thought was really, really helpful. Then there was an activity afterwards that sort of… we were able to add anonymously into the slide, to the table, and really get involved and to see how other people…their perspective of it which I found really helpful.
The first tutorial was very, very sort of study skills orientated. I did find the referencing bit really interesting though because… I struggle with references [laughter]. It was nice to have that, just going over. But even the second one had a little bit about referencing in it, but it was… the right amount of referencing. Just like give us a really good link which I actually still have up on my laptop to go over… so yeah… It was really helpful. For my other module, I just use the big Harvard guide but in this one’s just a referencing guide for the module, which is nice.
I think in the chat box it’s more questions, isn’t it? It’s more personal and you can ask any questions that you might have, whereas on the screen, it’s more interactive, it’s more to do with the topic. It’s not so much someone asking a question. You get more involved.
I do definitely feel that I would personally benefit from having more tutorials just because sometimes I can get into my head a little bit too much and then I sort of panic. I know it but it’s literally just trying to get it out, and especially with this second tutorial, I found it very useful to sort of just get out of my own head and just sort of see what was expected and things like that. Maybe we should have one tutorial every two weeks to go over what we’ve learnt, maybe talk to other students… I don’t know whether other students would benefit from that, but I personally know I would.
I did get an email before, which was really nice, just sort of reminding us that we had a tutorial that evening and then with both, they both emailed afterwards, with the slides and the recording, which I thought was really, really lovely and helpful.
The first tutorial was half my tutor speaking, then we had a break and the other tutor would come in and do the other half, while the other one looked at the chat box and then with the second tutorial, one tutor ran the whole tutorial, while the other one did the chat box. It does not really make a difference whether it is my own tutor. I just think it was just the stuff they went over that made a difference.
I struggle. I’ve got dyslexia. It does not affect me in tutorials too much. I haven’t noticed it. Having activities and being engaged…, that was where I enjoyed the second one a bit more, whereas the first one was a lot of sort of talking to us if you know what I mean? But the second one, I enjoyed how short it was and how informative it was.
I’d really, really love to go to a face-to-face tutorial. I really do sort of engage better in that sort of environment and talking to people about the work and having a professional sort of go over it on a screen and things like that, so I really would love that. Having more videos throughout the course would be better. I normally use YouTube more often than not to help me understand research or words, anything really. Even if there is no way of having more tutorials, maybe creating videos might be helpful for some people.