Sunday, 17 January 2010

The Tutorial System

I feel I should take a moment to explain the tutorial system. As my tutor today said, "Oxford is one of the only places that still utilizes the tutorial, because it is a lot of work." There are three terms, the Michaelmas, Hillary, and Trinity terms at Oxford. Each term is eight weeks long with five weeks in between. Most Oxford students have three year engagements at University and have a combination of lectures and tutorials throughout the term. A tutorial is a one-on-one class; one professor and one student. Each week the two meet once for about an hour. During the meeting the student presents a 2,000 word essay to the tutor based on readings assigned the previous meeting. For each tutorial, each week the student is required to read between 3-5 books in addition to supplementary articles and resources. Last week I was speaking with a British student and asking about social events. His response, "Socialize!? We're Oxford University students, we don't have time for social events." He was just kidding; I think.

Today I met my Philosophy tutor. We will meet at his house, which is quite a jaunt from my flat. He lives in a hamlet of Oxford, so I'm going to try and get a bike tomorrow to lessen the commute. During our meeting we fleshed out the syllabus, and I am very excited about the course. We are not, as earlier mentioned, starting with Plato and Aristotle. Instead I will be comparing Hobbes and Locke in the first week.

After making my way back to Oxford I went to the Sunday evening service in the Hertford Chapel. After the service I spoke with the director of the College Choir. If all goes well, I am to join them. This will be a wonderful way to socialize with Hertford College students. Tomorrow I am joining the Oxford University Student Choir. More on that tomorrow. Needless to say, after a hiatus, I will be singing a lot.


  1. That's wonderful!!! Singing is one thing I really miss in my life - and it's hard to find an outlet for it after college. :) I'm so happy for you! Keep us updated on the classes, they sound facinating!

  2. Glad to hear you got your Groove back.... Can't wait to hear more about the choir, Hobbes and Locke. Who am I kidding, really just about the choir will be fine!!!

  3. Maura,

    See, this is where I would have a problem. My first meeting would have me saying something like: "dude, I'm and Amerikanski, that much reading's simply a "no can-do" big guy" situation. Here's fifty bucks let's call it a day on this, if that's cool with you".

    Yeah, I'd have to try to get Hoptak to do my papers for me.

    Keep your nose to the grindstone, and a song in your heart!