First weeks of class

So what is studying like at Griffith?

All of my courses consist of a 2 h lecture and a 60 min tutorial or a workshop every week. The lectures are held in small lecture rooms for a group of about 50 people and interact with the lecturer is encouraged during and after class. Professors prepare a PowerPoint Presentation and uploaded it before or after the lecture, and students are supposed to do the readings before the class. In the tutorials, lecture topics are discussed in more details in a smaller group.

Sounds quite familiar, right?

Yes, but there are also some differences in how the semester is structured and how the course is graded. In total, there are 13 weeks of class, plus a one-week-vacation, a study week and a week reserved for examination. Courses run parallel to each other. To my surprise, most professors advertise their office hours and some even hand out sign-up sheets so that students come and see them during the semester. Most professors have their tutorials lead by PhD students or assistants. Attendance is not monitored, but strongly encouraged. Lectures are recorded by lecture capture and put online after class. Instead of 100% exams in the end of class, there is an array of written assignments arranged throughout the semester and a final exam in the end. In addition to written assignments, there are grades for oral participation in tutorials and so called “quizzes” (small short answer test) in class to motivate students to keep up the readings.

In general, classes seems well organized and it is clear right from the beginning what is expected of the student and when. With the extensive office hours and e-mails answered within 24 h, it feels like the students receive a lot of support and are looked after quite a lot. Having more than one graded assignment or exam per course lessons the pressure, but it is also more writing than I am used to. Surprise quizzes do feel a bit like getting your homework checked in middle school.

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