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Tutorials FAQ's

What is a tutorial and how does it differ from a seminar?

Tutorials are small group discussions. They are smaller than seminars (typically no more than 6 students per tutorial) and your tutor will normally be a member of staff, rather than a graduate student.

How many tutorials will I have?

Your group will meet once a fortnight, excluding reading week. So you should have 4-5 tutorials per term (terms 1 and 2 only).

What is the purpose of a tutorial?

Tutorials are designed to provide you with a relatively small forum for discussion and to help you develop your writing skills. Your tutor will prescribe reading for each tutorial and ask you to write essays periodically. Regular reading, writing and discussion will deepen your knowledge of the subject and help you develop the understanding and philosophical skills you will need to succeed in this and other philosophy modules. One advantage with tutorials is the greater attention the tutor is able to provide to your individual learning needs and understanding of issues. Another advantage is the frequency of essay writing that this approac requires.

What is the relationship between tutorials and lectures?

There are fewer tutorials than lectures and your tutor may not be involved in lecturing for this module. The topics covered in tutorials will relate to the material covered in the lectures but are unlikely to follow the lecture course in detail. You should think of tutorials as supplementing the lectures and as giving you the opportunity to learn more about a subject area. Your tutor's approach to a given topic might not be the same as the lecturer's approach. This will give you the opportunity to learn about different approaches to a topic and different ways of thinking about key issues. There isn't a single, uniform syllabus for all tutorial groups. What you cover in your tutorials will be decided by your tutor.

Do I have to attend tutorials if I am registered for PH133?

Yes. Attendance is compulsory.

How much writing will I have to do?

This will be decided by your tutor. You might be asked to write a short piece for every tutorial, or fewer longer pieces. Your tutor will tell you when and how to hand in written work, and you should expect feedback (written or verbal) on what you write. You might be asked by your tutor to give a presentation to the group or to take part in a debate. The more you contribute to a tutorial the more you will get out of it.