I’ve heard a little bit about tutorials here on EphBlog, how unique they are to Williams, how they have been one of Morty’s pet projects, how they should be put on the ever-growing list of “things that need to be budgeted”, but I don’t recall hearing much about them from those who have been, or are currently, enrolled in one.

This article on the Williams website says:

More common in older universities in Britain, the tutorial format is rare in U.S. higher education.

How rare? Does anyone know where else they are offered?

How a tutorial course is conducted does vary, but usually 10 students will be enrolled. At the beginning of the term, the instructor divides the students into five pairs. Each pair meets with the instructor each week for about an hour. At these weekly meetings, one student will deliver a prepared essay or presentation about the assignment for that week. The other student and the instructor offer a critique. The following week the students switch roles.

I’d like to hear more about this. Does the prof determine the pairs, or can two students decide they want to partner?

Student course evaluations for tutorials are very high – generally significantly higher than for other courses at comparable levels. In a survey of alumni from 1989 through 1996 who had taken at least one tutorial, more than 80 percent indicated that their tutorial was “the most valuable of my courses” at Williams.

Any of those 80 percent reading EphBlog? If so, could you tell us about your tutorial experience?

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