An Honors Tutorial can go just as far as a student’s imagination, passion, and ingenuity can take it. This allows for Honors students to develop creative opportunities for themselves with the help of willing professors, which is exactly what Honors students Shannon Fernandez Denmark and Samantha Courtney did alongside Dr. Ann Williams, Professor in the Biology Department. Rather than simply internalizing course material and vocabulary pertaining to the Microbiology course, they wanted to take it a step further; they wanted to teach a course to eighty fourth-graders at Cimino Elementary. What could be better proof of proficiency than being able to translate the content in a fun and exciting way to young children? On November 15th, Fernandez-Denmark and Courtney saw the actualization of their project with an hour-long “Microbiology: Food and You” presentation. They received an extremely positive response from not only their advising professor, but also the students and teachers at Cimino Elementary. These two students stand as one more example of the dedication and creativity of many of the students in the Honors program.
Dr. Jen Wortham in UT’s Department of Health Science and Human Performance recently oversaw a tutorial in her HSC 231 course with Julia Sengbusch. To help other students become familiar with tutorials and with inquiry projects in general, Dr. Wortham highlighted Julia’s tutorial on a bulletin board outside her office on the 2nd floor of the Health Science and Human Performance building.
For her spring 2018 Honors Tutorial, Honors student Natalia Kabalan literally made a news story. Natalia’s assignment was to create a short news story on the recycling initiative taking place on campus:
In order to help students complete their 5 required Honors Courses, the Honors Program allows students to convert some non-Honors courses into Honors Tutorials. This is detailed in the Honors Handbook (p. 8). The process for converting a non-Honors course into an Honors Tutorials is as follows:
- Make sure the course meets the requirements for converting it into an Honors Tutorial. These requirements are detailed in the Honors Handbook and include the following. The course must be taught by a full-time UT faculty member. Tutorials can only be done in courses that assign a letter grade. Tutorials can also only be taken in courses that are 3 or 4 (or more) credit hours.
- Approach the faculty member teaching the course and ask them if they would be willing to supervise your Honors Tutorial. This requires extra commitment on the part of the faculty member (they are paid for this extra time from the Honors Program), so it is vital that you discuss this with them with plenty of advanced warning. It is strongly encouraged that you do this before the semester starts, not once the semester starts, as professors need time to make these arrangements.
- If the faculty member is amenable to making the course a tutorial, you’ll then need to develop the tutorial itself. Doing more of the same work that other students in the class are doing is not the ideal Honors Tutorial. The aim of the tutorial should be to enhance the class in a way that: (a) the course content is made more relevant to the student’s interests and (b) the course content is extended beyond that which is covered in the course. When evaluating whether to approve an Honors Tutorial, the Honors Program Director uses those two criteria (i.e., “How is this different from what everyone else is doing?” and “How does this enhance the class in a way that is worthy of Honors credit?”) Here are some examples of innovative Honors Tutorials:
“I will be doing a project connecting my major (Biochemistry) with my minor (Cybersecurity). This makes my project different from what others in the course are doing because I am tying networking concepts learned in class to a different field altogether, healthcare. I want to research the pros and cons of cloud computing in electronic medical records, with a special emphasis in security of the digital infrastructure. Cloud computing is covered in the course, but only in a general overview sense. This way, I will be able to learn about a specific sector of this new and upcoming technology. I plan on completing this research project in the form of a lecture/presentation. With the way my project is formatted, I am able to practice my public speaking skills and apply an important computing topic to a broader audience, such as other professors here at UT or healthcare officials in the Tampa Bay area. I also hope that this provides a unique experience for my professor, who has never had a student that is studying the natural sciences and cybersecurity.” (Maya Patel)
“This will be an original model created incorporating all three sections of the course into one creative model. I will present this model as if presenting a final project to an employer. The other students in my class will do three noncumulative exams approaching some conditions given by the professor to create respective models. I will be putting all the concepts we learned together and make my own assumptions and conditions into “simulating” a real modeling job. It will be a great experience to create this huge model because I am doing an academic internship for credit this semester where I need to create new creative models in order to simulate and forecast next year’s numbers. So it will be of a great help to keep practicing and learning new stuff relating to financial models.” (Camilo Gonzalez)
“This project will involve running an untested experiment on how the protein content of crab claws change in response to fluctuations in temperature. This is an aspect of physiology that other students will not be learning about and an experiment that other students are not doing. This will involve designing the experiment, running the experiment, collecting data, and writing a paper on the results. This will improve my understanding of the underlying theories and literature of the given subject matter, of the laboratory techniques relevant to the class, of physiology focused experimental design, and of physiology focused scientific writing.” (Kelly Fryar)
“The Tutorial Enrichment project is a collaboration with Dr. Miller towards the publication of an academic research paper that aims to identify patterns between the FED minutes’ language and market responses. The project will require the student to collect, clean, and analyze nearly eight decades of data, and then run regression analysis as well as building models that would attempt to predict market reactions after the FED’s minutes are published and made public. This Tutorial Enrichment project will take a different approach to what the other students in the course will be doing by looking beyond the textbook content and regular assignments, while enhancing the student’s understanding of the FED’s impact on the financial markets.” (Victor Philaire)
- Once you and the professor have agreed to the project, you’ll need to submit the application via Submittable (here). Honors Tutorial applications are due by 5:00 pm on the third Friday of the semester.
- The Honors Program Director will evaluate each application, confirm with the professor that they have approved it, and then either approve the Tutorial or request modifications to improve it.
- At the conclusion of the Tutorial, the faculty member will evaluate the Tutorial, which will include submitting any deliverables from the Tutorial. Note that not every Tutorial is considered meritorious based on the evaluations from the professors who oversee them. Evaluations of Tutorials by overseeing faculty members can be completed here.