Teaching large groups: Tutorials

When having really large groups in the lecture theaters, there is a need for teacher-students contact. This is what the tutorials are for. During my time at NTU I had tutorials on the course Human Computer Interaction several times a week. Each group have about one tutorial every other week. The tutorials are in the so-called Tutorial Rooms (TR), or Learning Spaces, spread throughout campus. Since 2010 most tutorial rooms have gradually been converted into creative learning spaces, and that is what I have been using during the tutorials. These rooms are amazing. Today approximately 280 rooms have been converted and plans are to convert even more, especially the larger lecture theatres. Properly used I believe that they can create true learning experiences for the students and positive challenges for the teachers.

Tutorial room in The Arc

Even though the tutorial rooms are spread out over campus, a lot of them are located in the two main Learning Hubs – Learning Hub South (aka. The Hive) and Learning Hub North (aka. The Arc) with over 50 tutorial rooms each. These provide 24/7 access for the students and a creative environment for everyone involved. Any time you walk past one of these building, there are always students studying, preparing and just relaxing.

I had my tutorials in both The Arc and in the N4 wing of North Spine. All my groups were between 25-30 students and the rooms were design for 6 groups with 6 students in very group.

The two main Learning Hubs at NTU – The Arc and The Hive

The rooms have a similar structure with a number of round tables that has access to their own screen and are sitting around a round table. The tutorial rooms usually have a projector for the teacher to use (or any other screen can be used also) and whiteboards throughout the rooms. Some rooms even have whiteboards throughout the whole room, a neat feature, I have become a fan of…

The control panel of a tutorial room in The Arc

Like in the lecture theatres, everything is controlled using a control panel from the cockpit 🙂 You can either use your own laptop or you can use the desktop computer provided. Document cameras are also available. The different groups can connect to their screen and it is the teacher that can control what information is displayed on which computer. This is a fairly intuitive interface that is easy to use and efficient.

Tutorial session in the Arc

My thought about these tutorial rooms is that they are truly great. Of course having smaller groups to start with and not having to split the class into smaller ones is a luxury that we have from time to time back at the Swedish Universities. However, I would gladly move both teaching, workshops, tutorials, yes, everything into these type of rooms back in Sweden.

Tutorial rooms have been added to my wish list for when I come back to Sweden again…

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