Tutors@UQ is a University-wide program for NEW tutors and casual academic sessional staff, which focuses on introducing tutors to the teaching and learning environment at the University of Queensland.

What do we mean by ‘tutor’?

We use the word ‘tutor’ broadly, as an inclusive term encompassing the diversity of learning environments in which UQ tutors might find themselves. Tutors lead classes, tutorials, workshops, labs, practical sessions, problem based learning, drop-in sessions, peer assisted study sessions and groups online. Tutor refers to demonstrators, problem-based learning (PBL) leaders and clinical supervisors, as well as tutors of small and large group tutorials.

How is the Tutors@UQ program structured?

The Tutors@UQ program is designed for NEW tutors from any discipline, although the sessions are facilitated at the faculty level, allowing for discipline specific examples and contextualisation as appropriate. The program is structured around three face-to-face sessions for a total of five hours of contact time.

Session 1: Two hours prior to start of semester
Session 2: Two hours prior to start of semester
Session 3: One hour follow-up session during semester

The sessions utilise the principles of active learning, allowing new tutors the opportunity to engage in small group activities while also watching the facilitator model effective small group learning strategies. The Tutors@UQ program is organised around modules, each of which is aimed at answering a broad question (e.g. How do we tutor for learning?). Each module has a set of clear 'Learning Objectives' (e.g. Identify characteristics of supportive and engaging tutorial classes), which are aligned to specific 'Learning Activities' (e.g. respond to case studies).

Tutors@UQ learning resources

1. Comprehensive Facilitator's Guide for each Session
Access: Session 1 GuideSession 2 GuideSession 3 Guide (PDF)

2. Student Handouts for each Session 
Access: Session 1 handoutsSession 2 handoutsSession 3 handouts (PDF)

3. PowerPoint Slides for each Session
Access: Session 1 slidesSession 2 slidesSession 3 slides (PPTX)

These learning resources include a comprehensive booklet that outlines the sessions in details for the Tutors@UQ facilitators. The PowerPoint slides provide visual cues to keep the session on track. Students receive a short handout of printed documents with some essential information, along with materials to facilitate some of the activities.

Who teaches the Tutors@UQ program?

The program is dependent on quality Tutors@UQ facilitators: academic staff from the faculties and ITaLI who facilitate the sessions. The materials for the program include a comprehensive Facilitator's Guide with training for facilitators available from ITaLI. Ideally, each session of Tutors@UQ is facilitated by academic staff from the relevant faculty and an academic staff member from ITaLI, so please contact ITaLI to find a suitable co-presenter.

How much preparation is required to be a Tutors@UQ Facilitator?

While the Tutors@UQ program has been designed with 'Learning Objectives', 'Learning Activities' and 'Learning Resources' ready to go, preparation is vital for successful facilitation of the program. The Tutors@UQ program is not prescriptive by design. While the learning objectives are defined with aligned learning activities to create coherence across the program, Tutors@UQ facilitators have room for creativity in deciding how to facilitate the activities (e.g. buzz groups or think-pair-share) and how to present certain information (e.g. include a personal story from your experience that is relevant to tutoring or a discipline specific example).

Preparing by deciding on small group approaches: First time Tutors@UQ facilitators will then need to plan how they will facilitate the small group activities. All Sessions are different such that particular approaches could not be prescribed. Facilitators will have to consider the learning environment (e.g. am I in a lecture theatre or a tutorial room?) and the size of the group (e.g. will there be 20 tutors or 120 tutors?) when selecting small group approaches for facilitating the activities. This takes some consideration and a deep understanding of the activities so that each Tutors@UQ facilitator can cater to their particular group of tutors.

Preparing by deciding on presentation points: First time Tutors@UQ facilitators will also need to consider how they want to present key points. Remember, the program is based on active learning principles, and as such the didactic presentation of materials has only a minimal place in the program. The role of summarising key points around the learning objectives and motivating tutors by stressing the importance and relevance of the Tutors@UQ program is vital. Tutors@UQ Facilitators will need to consider and plan for how they will achieve this, and where they will add personal stories or discipline specific examples.

Preparing for time management: The Tutors@UQ program is designed to be relatively fast-paced and interactive. First time Tutors@UQ facilitators will need to give careful consideration and attention to time management. While the learning resources have suggested times, these are only suggestions with space for flexibility. In a given faculty or school, a decision might be made that one module needs more time and emphasis, with a reduction of time spent on another module. For instance, it might be that 'planning for tutorials' is of less relevance as tutorial plans are provided to tutors, so a decision is made to spend less time on that module with more time spent on 'tutoring strategies to engage students'.

Recommended preparation time for:

First time Tutors@UQ facilitator: 2 hours
Experienced Tutors@UQ facilitators: 1 hour

Experienced Tutors@UQ facilitators will also need to refresh and prepare. Ideally, taking a small amount of time to reflect directly following the session and making some notes on possible strategies for improvement will go a long way to planning and preparing for future sessions

Who provides administrative support for the Tutors@UQ program?

The Tutors@UQ program is centrally coordinated through ITaLI, while the faculty or school manages the program on the ground.

ITaLI: Develops the learning resources and overseas the evaluation process for Tutors@UQ. The ITaLI Tutors@UQ coordinator communicates directly with Associate Deans Academic (ADAs) each semester, providing the learning resources and evaluation information. ITaLI academic staff provide training for Tutors@UQ facilitators and are available to co-facilitate sessions.

Faculty Office: Under the leadership of the ADA, the faculty is responsible for booking rooms for the sessions, arranging handouts, organising the technology (PowerPoints, roving mic, etc.) and other necessary items (white board markers, etc.) for facilitating the sessions, communicating with tutors, coordinating tutor sign-in/attendance sheets and arranging evaluation.

Tutors@UQ Facilitator: Should liaise with the faculty ADA to ensure all administrative support is in place. When preparing and planning for the sessions, the Tutors@UQ facilitators should liaise with academics in ITaLI, and ideally jointly facilitate sessions with their ITaLI faculty liaison.

Tutors@UQ evaluation

Faculties may elect to evaluate the Tutors@UQ program and its delivery. If so, UQ Poll can be used for instant feedback in class using the tutors’ own devices, or the Open Response Questionnaire can be used to receive qualitative feedback. Suitable questions you may choose to use to develop your own evaluation follow:

STUDENT FEEDBACK ABOUT SESSION EXPERIENCE

  1. I had a clear understanding of the aims and goals of the sessions (5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3 = neutral, 2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree)
  2. The session was intellectually stimulating (scale as above)
  3. The session was well structured (scale as above)
  4. The learning materials assisted me in this session (scale as above)
  5. I learned a lot in this session (scale as above)
  6. Right now, I feel prepared for tutoring here at UQ (scale as above)
  7. Right now, I feel confident about tutoring (scale as above)
  8. Overall, how would you rate this session? (5 = outstanding, 3 = satisfactory, 1 = very poor)
  9. What were the best aspects of this session? (open feedback)
  10. What improvements to this session would you suggest? (open feedback)

STUDENT FEEDBACK ABOUT TEACHING

  1. Overall, how would you rate the quality of teaching of the Tutors@UQ program? (5 = outstanding, 3 = satisfactory, 1 = very poor)
  2. Please comment on the teaching of the Tutors@UQ program (open feedback)