Lectures of bachelor courses nowadays contain activating and interactive elements for students, which makes for relatively high attendance rates and good appreciation by students. However, student participation and attendance in tutorial sessions, in which they work on problems in a hands-on way, is often much lower.
How can we change the way tutoruals are set up to engage and motivate students to participate and to get the most out of the tutorials?
Methods to engage students during tutorials
Throughout our bachelor courses at TU/e, specifically with larger courses (> 150 students), we see that students do show up at lectures or plenary activities in which information is conveyed to them. These already contain activating and interactive elements, which are well-appreciated by students.
When it comes to applying the subject matter, tutorials are offered, during which students work in smaller groups (30-50 students) in an informal setting on problems that are provided to them. They can discuss their solutions with fellow students and/or ask help and feedback from teaching assistants. Answers to the instruction problems are typically made available after the tutorials with some delay. Although teachers deem tutorials to be a very essential part of the learning methods, a large fraction of students often do not attend them. We feel that students simply wait for the answers to become available and merely look at them, without active practice themselves.
We experience that students who stay away from tutorials often do not put the mileage in to practice and prepare themselves for tests and exams. This results in lower passing rates and frustration, both on the students' side and the teachers' side.
Provide lecturers at TU/e with best practices (and evidence) on forms of tutorials that keep students engaged to practice with the subject matter throughout a course.
Present user case as a workshop in the Academy for Learning and Teaching (TU/e-wide) and at best practice lunch sessions at the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Improved forms of tutorials that engage students better for courses offered by the Department of Electrical Engineering.
Will be updated after implementation of the user case.
This CPD scenario describes a User case in which lecturers develop their competence in teaching in higher education and facilitating problem solving and how to engage and motivate students and how to facilitate discipline specific thinking and how to facilitate student’s deep learning and development of higher cognitive skills and develop attitudes in practicing teaching and learning in an evidence informed way and knowledge sharing.
The approximate duration of a User case that follows this scenario is several hours.
In this CPD scenario the participants professionalize in a close connection to their own teaching practice (at their workplace) and meet in person on location with the training staff and with other participants.