This paper describes four of the most common tutorial formats adopted in the humanities — large (entire class) discussions, small group discussions, role-plays, and internet-based threaded discussions — and examines student perceptions of their engagement with, and the effectiveness of, each format based on a range of criteria. The information was collected at the end of a semester-length course in which the students experienced each tutorial style on at least two occasions. Students then completed non-compulsory and anonymous questionnaires asking them to rank the tutorial formats against each other (from 1 to 4) according to eight different criteria, including which tutorial was the most enjoyable, which offered the greatest opportunity for meaningful contribution to the discussion, and which most motivated the student to prepare and participate. The responses pointed to an overwhelming preference for small group activities over large (entire class) discussions, and indicated dissatisfaction with online threaded discussions, which were rated last for the majority of criteria. The responses also revealed that students valued the opportunity to role-play, and that such activities motivated students to prepare most thoroughly for tutorial.
|Keywords:||Student Engagement, Asynchronous Online Discussion, Role-play|
Associate Professor, School of History and Politics, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia