Sounding Off

April 2, 2003

Last week we asked readers to send us comments on their AU tutors.

For next week’s Sounding Off, send me your thoughts on the following topic:
How safe are we? With the SARS virus killing people around the globe, mad cow infecting our meat, and increased salmonella contamination of food products, do you feel that we are more at risk than ever, or is the media just hyping a few isolated cases?

I’ve also had a number of people interested in commenting on topics that we have already covered, or on topics that we have not yet posted. Therefore, I will accept comments on previous topics as well, and feel free to suggest future topics as well.

My French tutor has been very helpful to me. Whether it be by email or phone conversations, she always takes the time to explain things for me. I wouldn’t be doing nearly as well without her help!

Susan MacKenzie

I just finished a management accounting course and I have to say that I am really glad it is over. It is by far the toughest course that I have taken. You see, math is a challenge for me and so I have a difficult time understanding some of the concepts. To make matters worse, the tutors are all chartered accountants. I know from experience that trying to explain something that you understand very well to someone who has no understanding of the subject can be difficult. I had to learn how to explain things at work to new employees by starting at the very beginning and looking at the situation from the point of view of someone who has never encountered it before. When I would create standard operating procedures, I would pretend that I was writing them for someone from another planet so that you include even the details that you may think are irrelevant. Maybe the tutors should learn how to explain things in that manner.

Shannon O’Connor

It really annoys me that some tutors still will not accept email assignments. On that same note it should not take more than a week or two to mark assignments (essays should take a little bit longer to mark).

It also annoys me when I receive an essay or assignment back from a tutor with a mediocre grade yet no comments. Come on if you are going to give me a 75% there had better be comments on the paper! How are we supposed to improve?

I love tutors that take that extra bit of time to send you a personal note and instructions on how they want essays written and assignments completed. Both Anthropology tutors I have had have done this. These are the tutors who really make you feel like they are teaching because they love to do it, not because they have to do. Passing on knowledge is more than just earning a paycheque doing it.

Sandra Moore

Tutors should not only be knowledgeable, but need to be able to explain what is expected of a student. In some of my psych courses it was not clear what was expected for the final assignment and my tutor could not explain it clearly. I was frustrated because I felt that I might not do well regardless of how hard I worked. In fact, the comments on my paper said that I had done exceptional work, but that it was not quite what they wanted. I even asked twice to see a sample paper so I could figure out how to do it, but no dice.
I love a tutor who provides good feedback on assignments. My CMNS 423 and 425 tutor was the best for that.
Most of my tutors [I’ve taken 25 courses] have been exceptional, and a few have been lousy. Most respond quickly, but I had English tutors who would take weeks, and who refused to answer email.
Things like this can sour you, which is a shame, because so many AU tutors are incredibly skilled, experienced and dedicated, and I can’t believe how much I’ve learned from some of them over the past three years. The Women’s Studies department has some of the very best, though they can be extremely demanding.
Oh, and I know tutors work at home, but when a surly teen or small child answers the phone, says he doesn’t know where you are and then hangs up – and it’s well into your phone hours – it does not inspire confidence!
[I’ve been waiting to get that off my chest for awhile:]
Editor

For next week’s Sounding Off, send me your thoughts on the following topic:

How safe are we? With the SARS virus killing people around the globe, mad cow infecting our meat, and increased salmonella contamination of food products, do you feel that we are more at risk than ever, or is the media just hyping a few isolated cases?

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