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For most new students, the teaching and learning environment at university can seem unfamiliar at first. Here are just a few basics about the teaching and learning environment, and our expectations of you in terms of independent study, to help you navigate your way successfully:
Each unit that you’ll undertake is administered and taught by a unit team. The unit team is made up of all of the lecturers and tutors of the unit from each campus and is coordinated by a unit chair. The unit team determines the content, assembles the study materials and sets the assessment tasks for the unit. In the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment your learning is supported by lectures, tutorials, practicals, design studios and the online facilities of CloudDeakin.
A lecture is a ‘formal’ presentation to a group of students on a particular subject. Most units usually have two hours of lectures each week with lectures either one or two hours long. The degree to which there is discussion or exchanges between students and the lecturer will vary depending on the nature of the subject, and individual style of your lecturer.
Tutorial, practicals and studios, by design, are generally less formal than the lecture format, and where you can expect greater interaction between you and your fellow students, and your lecturer or tutor. Attendance and performance may be assessed, as well as other work that is submitted to tutors. Each unit usually offers one hour of tutorials or practicals per week, but as with lectures it may vary from unit to unit.
A tutorial may be a group discussion during which a small number of students (usually no more than 25) and a member of academic staff (the tutor) discuss issues or problems raised in lectures or readings. A tutorial might also be lab-based, common in many information technology subjects, where students actively work on PC’s designing or problem-solving. You can sign up for tutorials using STAR.
A practical is similar in ‘size’ and ‘nature’ to a tutorial, but is a term used commonly in the sciences where much of the small group problem-solving or experimentation is done in laboratories.
A design studio is typical in Architecture and Built Environment where small groups of students come together to discuss various works, e.g. buildings, and to share their own works at different stages of development.
Attendance at various lectures, tutorials etc make up what might be referred to as required contact time, where learning occurs with the guidance of the academic or tutor. However, students should expect to undertake at least 10 hours of study per week for each enrolled unit. More time will be required to achieve outstanding results – this amount of time will vary for each student. It is important that students are aware of the expectations applying to each unit.