Online Tutorial report: SIOT-11

This tutorial ran from 6th Feb to 5th March 2012. The text is adapted from a web page about William Shakespeare, likely to have been written by multiple contributors.  It followed the standard format for advanced tutorials – 2 weeks to compile your index followed by 2 weeks evaluating all the different contributions. There were 10 students taking part, and therefore a full discussion was able to take place for each of the questions posed by the tutor, Ann Hudson.

The text was found to be challenging in that it contained many names – names of works and characters, of family, contemporaries and critics, some well known and some unknown. Defining what were passing mentions became a major topic of discussion amongst us all. Most of the students did not have any particular prior knowledge of Shakespeare and many had not tackled a biography before.

Ann asked us a series of questions aimed at evaluating our index entries and those of the rest of the group. We were encouraged to compare and contrast each others’ submissions freely, and to say, in hindsight, what we would do differently if we were preparing some particular ones again.

One of the main questions involved looking at subheadings under a metatopic entry. Ann’s index, when it was sent out, was heavily annotated, which provided us with an incredibly useful insight into her thinking process. We were also invited to ask questions freely, and she provided us with lengthy answers to every question asked by every person.

Of those that fed back at the end of the tutorial, responses generally indicated that students found the tutorial very useful, the format and timings suiting most students. Everyone found the text suitably challenging, and most felt that the tutorial itself would help with module tests, or at least helped identify what to brush up on before attempting the next test. One student enjoyed the creation of an index that was not under test pressures. Short texts like this would rarely be indexed in ‘real life’ but what you learn from undertaking the tutorial are valuable skills that can be used on longer texts, the thought process you go through is what is being practised here. A few said they were going away to peruse in more detail Ann’s finished index, and evaluate it again against their own submission.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the collaborative nature of the tutorial and Ann’s marvellous feedback.

Debby Parkinson