School of
Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

Your Duties as a Tutor
Preparation:

All tutors are required to attend a training session as a condition of appointment each semester. Details of each training session are shown on the EAIT Tutor Site.

As soon as you learn that you are to be tutoring in a specific course, you should contact the lecturer in charge of that course in order to arrange details, and to get copies of any advance materials.  You should also make sure you know in which week you are supposed to start work, and the location of your tutorial/practical sessions. Several lecturers hold weekly tutors' meetings to prepare for the coming week: in such cases attendance is part of your duties. Some lecturers may also want you to attend their own tutorials to see what is expected.

You are expected to be prepared for all tutorials and/or practicals to which you have been assigned. The onus of tutorial preparation rests jointly on tutors and lecturers. The tutor's side of this includes collecting course material, handouts, and solutions from the Course Coordinator, who may use the tutors mail pigeonhole in the St Lucia School Office (room 78-218) to distribute material. [You are entitled to go into the School Office to check the tutors’ mail pigeonholes for handouts relating to the course you are tutoring. It is a good idea to introduce yourself to one of the office staff the first time you do this.]

If you don't receive material which you expected, you should follow the matter up at once. Once you have the handouts you should familiarise yourself with their content, and seek advice from the lecturer if anything is not clear. You should report to the lecturer any misprints, errors, or common misunderstandings in course handouts, whether you discover them yourself, or have them drawn to your attention by students; the sooner the better. Similar remarks apply to problems with equipment and software.

In preparing for a tutorial, if you do not understand any of the material, then ask the lecturer about it. The lecturer will prefer this to the alternative of having you go into the tutorial not understanding the material.

Not just class contact time

Tutoring requires a certain amount of preparation and follow-up is expected. The amount of work is specified in the payment arrangements for casual tutors, explained below. Tutorial Fellows and Tutorial Assistants can use this as a guide.

For each hour of initial tutorial contact, one hour of preparation time will also be paid to casual tutors. However, when a tutorial is repeated, no additional preparation time will be paid. For example, if you tutor COMP2500 and take part in three repeats of the same tutorial each week then you will be paid only one hour of preparation per week. Tutors are expected to have enough knowledge of the course to do their preparation within the time specified; if you are unable to do this then you should consult the lecturer. In addition, tutors might be expected to do consultation (for which they are paid at the same rate). This will involve making themselves available at certain times to assist students.

Tutors are often required to assist with marking and will be paid for each hour of marking time they complete. Course Coordinators will give an indication of how long the marking should take.

Labs/Pracs

Your work may involve supervising laboratory or practical sessions in the ITEE labs. Casual tutors are paid for the hours they are required to attend the sessions, with any agreed preparation and marking paid separately.

The First Tutorial

In the first tutorial of the semester, you are required (by University regulations) to make the students aware of the position of the nearest fire exit. You should also tell the class your name, contact details, and consultation hours (if applicable).

It is a good idea to turn up early for the first tutorial, to check that the room is open and the equipment (chalkboard, penboard, overhead projector) is ready to use. If the room is locked you can go to the ITEE office if the tutorial is in one of the ITEE buildings, otherwise you must call the central teaching room helpline on ext. 59111 and report the problem. A security officer or other UQ staff member will attend quickly to open the room. For laboratories, normally there will be a member of staff present or the room will work on time locks or swipecard access.

Invigilation

Tutors may be required to assist with the supervision of School-controlled examinations held in-class or during examination periods. Such invigilation duties will be under the direction of the lecturer. Casuals will be paid for the hours of attendance.

Marking

The lecturer may allocate you marking duties. Tutors are expected to carry out a reasonable amount of marking, which forms part of the hours of your appointment as a TF /TA or your payment as a casual. If marking commitments become excessive you should immediately tell the lecturer. Note that the marking may not come in equal weekly instalments, but rather in large clumps as assignments are handed in. If this is likely to conflict with your own assignment deadlines, then you should negotiate the problem with the lecturer.

Marking is now normally done by the tutors and lecturers together, in one sitting. You are required to attend such sessions. In many cases, tutors will also be required to assist with marking of the final examination. Marking duties will involve looking out for cases of cheating in accordance with training given to you on the detection of student misconduct.

Casual tutors should record all marking on the payment claim form, under 'Marking' (Cat 30A).

Misconduct Investigations

Tutors may be required to assist a lecturer to check submitted pieces of assessment for evidence of plagiarism and/or collusion, additional to normal marking duties. This could involve cross-checking assignments, checking assignments against published sources, etc.

Medical Emergency Procedures

Information Technology and Electrical Engineering labs and tutorial rooms are fairly safe places to be, so medical emergencies are not normally expected to arise, although in the engineering labs there is a higher chance of something happening, hence the procedures are somewhat stricter.  However, there may be students with pre-existing conditions and you need to know what to do if, for example, a student collapses or has a fit. Electrocution in the labs is also a possibility.

The prescribed University procedure in case of medical emergency is as follows:

Remove persons from danger if safe to do so;

  • Apply first aid if appropriate;
  • Dial extension 53333 (or phone 3365 3333) to alert Security (they will call an ambulance, if required).
  • State:
    • Your name and contact phone number;
    • The exact location of the emergency - building name, floor and room number;
    • Number of persons injured;
    • Nature of accident/injury;
    • What action has been taken;
    • Arrange an easily located point to meet the emergency team and guide them to the spot;
    • Delegate people to stay by the phone, and people to meet the emergency team.
Fire Emergency Procedures

You should familiarize yourself with the fire exits in every building in which you tutor. It is your duty to make your class aware of the location of these fire exits in the first tutorial.

The prescribed University procedure in case of fire is as follows:

  • Alert Security through extension 53333 or phone 3365 3333 (they will call the Fire Brigade);
  • Follow instructions of Building Fire Warden;
  • Warn personnel/evacuate as necessary;
  • Ensure safety of disabled persons;
  • Confine fire if possible.

As a tutor, it is simply your duty to make your class aware of the location of the fire exits, and to announce an evacuation if a fire or fire drill occurs.

Emergency Phone Numbers

Security: extension 53333 (or phone 3365 3333).  This is the only number your need to know. Security will arrange and coordinate all emergency response teams from outside the University.

Laboratories and Workshops

Prior to commencing tutoring duties in a laboratory or workshop, tutors are required to familiarise themselves with the safety requirements of the workplace.  The supervisor responsible for the area will explain the overall operating functions drawing attention to the relevant safety features with emphases on key points peculiar to that workplace.

Tutors are to enforce the dress requirements and other conditions of access to these areas for the students under their care.

A tutor who after commencing duties does not feel comfortable working in any of these work areas should notify the supervisor and the lecturer of the problem so action may be taken to resolve the situation.

Occupational Health & Safety Unit

All tutors should visit the UQ OH&S web site to familiarise themselves with the policies and/or guidelines to provide guidance in all levels of responsibility related to their tasks.

Conduct

The University’s Code of Conduct for staff (Policy 1.30.6 at ppl.app.uq.edu.au) covers the following topics:

  • Respect for the law and system of University Governance
  • Respect for persons
  • Integrity (personal relationships, conflict of interest)
  • Diligence
  • Economy and Efficiency (eg avoiding waste)

In particular, the University has various policies against harassment, discrimination and bullying. Use common sense and be sensitive to the fact that what you may regard as an "ordinary example" or "amusing" someone else may (quite rightly) find offensive.

Some students you are working with, particular in their first year, may be aged less than 18 years old. Queensland law requires that, in particular circumstances, persons working with children under 18 undergo a ‘suitability check’. University policy is set out at 1.60.7 at http://ppl.app.uq.edu.au/, but is aimed at students on clinical or teaching placements and at researchers. Advice from the Academic Registrar to the School is that unless a tutor is engaging in one-on-one contact with a known under-18 year old on a repeat basis, the check is not required. ITEE tutoring work is unlikely to involve such contact. In cases of uncertainty, the best approach is to try to hold meetings within earshot or sight of others, keep the office door open, ask a fellow staff member or student to be present ‘as your assistant’, etc.

Disabled Students

Be aware that the University provides specialised services for disabled students, details of which are here.

Privacy

The University is bound by law to protect the privacy of persons about whom the University holds personal information. As a tutor, personal information you are likely to encounter for students includes enrolment details, academic performance, marks and even the fact that the student is being investigated for misconduct. Personal information should not be disclosed to third parties. Any requests should be directed to your Course Coordinator in the first instance.

Private Tutoring (including for campus residential colleges)

It is not appropriate for a tutor in a course to provide additional private tutoring (paid or unpaid) to students within the same course, whether or not the student is in the tutor’s group. This constitutes a conflict of interest. If the student is finding the tutorials or consultation times inadequate, they can seek additional private tutoring, but not via a tutor in the same course.

From time to time, the School receives requests from the residential colleges at St Lucia for contact details for tutors who might be interested in tutoring students in particular courses. The School has no objection to this, but in order to minimise conflict of interest, tutors from other than the course in question will be recommended. Otherwise, any arrangement between you and a college is independent of your work for the University.

Tutor Workshops

The School is keen to ensure that all tutors receive comprehensive training, so as to maximise the effectiveness of tutorials and lab sessions. To this end, we may organise from time to time tutor workshops, which all tutors are expected to attend. You will receive advance notification of when and where such workshops will be held. The time you spend in these workshops will be counted as part of your paid hours.

Access to teaching materials and support services

You should receive the tutorial material and solutions at least 24 hours in advance for class tutorials, to allow for preparation. However, in some cases, as with a new course, or a new lecturer, that may not always be possible in practice.

If you are in charge of a tutorial session you are entitled to use School copying and related resources to prepare material for it. Office staff will assist with this.

If you have any problems you should first raise them with the relevant lecturer. If you find it difficult to do this, or if the problem is not resolved, then please see the Director of Coursework Studies, Dr Stephen Viller.

Getting help

Tutoring, in particular classroom tutoring, is a complex task, and various problems can arise from time to time. You might have trouble getting your students to participate; attendance at your tutorials might be poor; or you may be dissatisfied with your own performance in front of the class.

To help tutors, we offer a training session at the start of each semester, where such problems are discussed, and tips are given on how to deal with them. Sometimes extra workshops may be scheduled during semester. Additionally, the Tutor Teaching Handbook, which is the sister publication to this Administrative Handbook gives tips and is backed up by a list of resources for deeper insight. If you discover a technique that works well for you, remember to share it with others!

If tutoring problems persist; please see the lecturer in charge of your course.