Tutors at university?

(10 Posts)
BertrandRussell Fri 05-Feb-16 11:51:21

Does anyone ever have private tutors at University? My dd has failed a small but crucial element of her course- she was suffering from depression and is being allowed to resit the exam (usually it's a sudden death- no resit pass or fail). She found the particular topic very difficult - she says she didn't really understand the lectures and just passed her essay. She has been getting mostly 2:1s and 1sts for all her other work. She needs to pass this course to get onto the Honours programme. Obviously if she were still at school a tutor would be th obvious answer- but does that happen at University?

chemenger Fri 05-Feb-16 12:50:47

It does happen form time to time. Has she spoken to her personal tutor/mentor or the course lecturer to see if they might recommend a postgraduate who would be interested in doing tutoring? However it would also be a good idea to seek help from the course lecturer, who is, after all, being paid to help! Most of us are happy to spend time with a student who comes along with well prepared questions. So saying "I don't understand your course" won't get very far, but "I have tried to understand what this means by doing some background reading but I still don't get it" will challenge them to explain it in a more accessible way (with any luck).

disquit2 Fri 05-Feb-16 12:54:13

Agree with chemenger that it is important to talk to personal tutor and lecturer to discuss what went wrong. Lecturers will usually be happy to spend a bit of time helping a student to work on what is required for a pass.

While university students do sometimes get tutoring, I would be a bit cautious: many tutors are themselves advanced undergraduates/postgraduates who don't really know much about marking criteria and who don't have experience teaching.

BertrandRussell Fri 05-Feb-16 13:24:55

Thank you. Yes, she talked to her personal tutor and her subject tutor about it last term- the subject tutor reassured her that lots of others found it difficult but that she would be OK- which turned out to be a bit optimistic.! She's going back to talk to both of them next week- she only found out this morning that she was going to be allowed to resit. I just thought I'd see if I could think up some options for her. It's so much tougher than it was in my day!

disquit2 Fri 05-Feb-16 13:41:22

BTW to follow up on chemenger's comment it is important to be specific about what you don't understand. To get the most out of a meeting with a course lecturer, you need to be able to explain which parts of the lecture notes you could not follow i.e. that you got to a certain point and then didn't get the logic/reasoning of the next part. You also need to try to pinpoint what parts of exam questions/assignments you didn't understand.

Milliways Fri 05-Feb-16 20:00:54

My DS acts as a Buddy to to those a year or 2 behind in his Maths Course. They get together to discuss lectures and any issues in understanding stuff, which helps the older ones keep revision is too. He benefited from buddies when he was a first year so was happy to become a buddy.

Does your DDs uni offer anything like that?

Also, informally, lots of students are coaching others, eg those doing Maths help say Economics students with Maths modules etc, but if you can find someone who successfully completed that year they may be happy to help?

MagratGarlikAgain Sat 13-Feb-16 15:04:02

Hi, I run a private tuition business and am also an ex University academic (senior lecturer at a RG university). I do get quite a few requests from University students for ad hoc tuition, where they are struggling with particular aspects of the course. I always tutor University students personally, rather than handing these requests to one of my other tutors, because I am the only one with experience teaching and examining at university level (the others are all school teachers, who ime don't have the necessary experience to understand the difference in requirements between secondary and tertiary level education). I am quite rare amongst private tutors though and will also only tutor University students coming from courses I know well personally - the difficulty being that a lecturers research interests can dictate the emphasis or otherwise that they put on different aspects of a topic. This means, the focus I would place on a topic may be different to someone else, based purely on differences in research interests. Module specs are also often badly written (and students don't always have copies, even though they will have been provided with them). All this can make tutoring at University level quite tricky, but certainly feasible if you look around for someone suitably qualified.

Autumnsky Tue 16-Feb-16 14:10:02

I would think if you don't understand anything, you just go to ask the lecturer, the lecturer is normally quite happy to help. But you normally need to ask immediately after the lesson, so you can keep up with the lessons.

But I guess you DD has accumulated a few points, so maybe it is impossible to solve it quickly. Maybe talk to the subject lecturer first to see what help she can get. Also if she can talk to students a year above with good grade on that subject to see if they can help her?

MagratGarlikAgain Wed 17-Feb-16 00:49:53

I'd say, Autumnsky, that that depends very much on the university, the lecturer and the student.

Lectures at university are not "lessons" as such. They are intended to convey the basics of the subject and the student is then expected to pad those basics of with details through self-study. The more research-intensive the university, the more that holds true (because the less contact hours staff have with students). That said, some lecturers soil always be willing to go above and beyond with undergrade. Others less so.

Finally, some students will have completely unrealistic expectations as to the one-to-one help staff can (or will) provide. To give an example, I gave a series of 6 hours of lectures to first year students in a particular topic. One student contacted me asking for extra help. I offered several different days/tines when he could make an appointment to see me. He wanted to take all the appointments I offered, even though I'd offered a choice of 5 hours and the material only took 6 hours to deliver in total!!! I did explain that given there were 200 students on the course, I could not replicate the entire material to each student one at a time!

I also had students contacting me because they weren't keeping up, but who had not attended many lectures. Most universities will not have much sympathy in these cases.

MagratGarlikAgain Wed 17-Feb-16 09:22:22

Please excuse all the typos, my phone is terrible for "autocorrect".

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