Tutorial Protocol and How to Study

The mechanics and manners of participating in the tutorials

1. Log into the classroom a few minutes early, but no more than 5 minutes early if there is another class before yours, or you will interrupt it. If yours is the first class of the morning or afternoon, you may log on sooner if you wish.  As soon as you are logged on, check your own settings to be sure they are correct, and make sure your microphone is turned OFF (the box is unchecked).

2. When I begin class, please stop any unnecessary chatting, and during class, please limit your chatting to relevant remarks so that the chat box does not become a distraction. Don't type every thought that comes into your head--many of those thoughts may be interesting to you, but not all that valuable to the class.  Be thrifty with your use of the chat box.  Remember that the verses in Proverbs about many words also apply to typing!

3. Be careful of the temptation to think you are anonymous. Think before you type. If you blunder in what you type (it happens!), a quick apology can prevent or soothe many an offense. If someone else blunders, have charity--don't be hard on them.

4. If a real problem in behavior arises (it's been very, very rare!), Schola follows the in loco parentis principle: I am operating under your parents' authority as far as you are concerned, and will report any problem to them immediately so that they can take care of it as they think best. I always assume that my students will conduct themselves with Christian charity, courtesy, and kindness, and they almost always surpass what I expect.

5. If you wish to ask a brief question or make a comment in the chat box, you don't need to ask permission; go ahead and type it in, and I will watch the chat box and respond if necessary. If you have a longer question, type it up in Notepad or Word, then ask permission before pasting it into the chatbox.

6. If I ask a general question of everyone, type a short answer in the chat box. 

7. For many classes, you may find it easier to copy and paste previously written answers (to GB study questions or Latin translations, etc.). If you aren't familiar with copying and pasting, see the Setup/Troubleshooting page.

8. For all classes, you'll need your browser open; to see an easy way to distribute your browser and NetMeeting windows evenly on your computer, see the Setup/Troubleshooting page.

Software problems during tutorials:

1. You should be sure you attend one of the test sessions so you know your software is configured correctly.

2. In the tutorials, I will not be able to stop and help you much if you have problems, because our time is so limited. If you have problems, try to solve it on your own, or disconnect from the classroom and go to the coffeeshop to meet someone else there who can help you solve the problem. For this reason, it is doubly important that you come to a test session if you are unfamiliar with the software.

3. Anticipate audio problems and relax--it is quite normal, given the nature of the internet, for your audio to suddenly go silent, or make funny noises, or break up and chatter, just because of internet traffic, etc. Those things happen now and then and generally go away after a bit; before you try solving it, just be patient and don't panic, as it will probably solve itself. You can mention it in the chat box, but don't fill the chatbox with panic-stricken typing--it won't do anybody any good. Just mention it and then drop it. If I think there is anything I can do, I will, or I may ask another student to help you.

4. If you have extensive audio trouble, there are ways to catch up on what you may have missed.  I will have a student take notes in the chatbox, students will write summaries of each class session if appropriate, and we will keep logs of the chat.

Using Your Mind to Get the Most out of the Tutorials

The most important difference between tutorials and school "classes" is that in a tutorial situation, you are responsible to learn on your own. You are not forced to learn--you are given guidance in your own process of studying and learning. The real work comes during the week when you are on your own, reading, thinking, and writing; if you expect it all to happen in the once-a-week session, your experience will not be a success and you will hinder others as well. On the other hand, if you learn how to learn for yourself without being pushed, you will become an independent student, which is one of the great goals of classical education. 

1. Be prepared. Have all of the assignment done before the class in which it is due.

2. Use your reading/study time well. The following is most applicable to Great Books and Rhetoric, but the principles apply to all the subjects.

  • When you sit down to study, take a few minutes to review the last week's reading and discussion (this is best done by using the study questions).
  • Take another 5 minutes and preview the new assignment by looking at the study questions and the table of contents and chapter headings, if applicable.
  • Read your assignment carefully, making notes in the margin of your book or in a notebook. Your notes can range from underlining or writing "what?" in the margin, all the way to full-blown arguing with the author, but the more you write in response to your reading, the more active is brain will be. Read poetry aloud.
  • After each reading/study session, take a couple more  minutes and review what you just read, again perhaps by looking at the study questions and seeing if you can answer them now.
3. Use the Tutorial time well. You're not watching TV although it may feel like it sometimes. Think ahead to where we are going. 
  • Have the study questions or exercises handy and keep thinking about them as we talk. 
  • Have your book handy and open to the pages we are discussing.
  • Don't wait to be called on--volunteer answers, whether by typing or by asking to use audio: the more you actively participate, the more you get out of class.

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