SALTS helping to shine spotlight on best tutorial practice

15476The University’s Student Ambassadors for Learning and Teaching (SALT) scheme provides students with the opportunity to influence and enhance learning and teaching in their Faculty, through a year-long project.

Below, Biomedical Science SALT Joanna Barry discusses the team’s current project to assess best practice for tutorials in Science


“This year the Faculty of Science SALT team are assisting in the enhancement of the current system of personal and academic development tutoring and support. We have been assessing the current tutorial system, which is diverse and varies between departments and within levels.

“The SALT team split into two groups to manage student surveys and focus groups. We conducted student focus groups within each department, and used these results to inform our survey questions. The survey assessed various aspects of tutorials including: expectations, atmosphere, content, group size and quantity of sessions. The surveys aimed to highlight both positives and negatives that exist with the current system. The survey obtained around 220 responses, which enabled us to conduct efficient qualitative and quantitative analysis of the data.

“As well as assessing student satisfaction with the tutorial system, we also thought it important to interview two-to-three tutors per department. These interviews provided an important insight into the current tutorial system from a tutor’s perspective.

“Data analysis is ongoing, but we aim to produce a report, E-newsletter and article outlining our findings and suggesting improvements. We hope to ultimately identify “best practice” suggestions, and feed this back to the Faculty of Science. We have organised a workshop event for tutors and Directors of Teaching from each department within the Faculty of Science, which will take place on Tuesday 14 April (please email jbennett3@sheffield.ac.uk for more information).

“We aim to take into consideration that ‘best practice’ within each department may differ. Our research will take into account the first-hand opinions of students and staff from each department, in the hope that suggestions can be pragmatically implemented by each department.”

Student Ambassadors for Learning and Teaching