Blog: October 2013

Tutorials at Oxford Summer Courses

I’ve just come out of a brilliant Modern British Government tutorial here at my College (Brasenose) and It’s inspired me to write something about the tutorial system at Oxford, and how Oxford Summer Courses allows you to experience it:

Unlike many other summer schools you might go on where teaching is done exclusively in groups or in lectures, Oxford Summer Courses is fully committed to Oxford-style Tutorial teaching: An Oxford Tutorial is a (typically) hour long teaching session between you and a tutor, your tutor is always an expert in the field, and often one of the leading scholars on it in the world. You will write an essay based on a set reading list for the tutorial which will form the basis of the discussion, teaching and learning in the tutorial. Only at Oxford and Cambridge is teaching of such care, intimacy and depth offered. Tutorials are a space to learn, to argue for your ideas and be challenged, they are safe environments in which it is always ok to be wrong, and in which you will always have your ideas challenged and your thinking developed.

At Oxford Summer Courses all the staff and the founders have gone through the Oxford tutorial system, and know the value of this unique learning experience, which is why we at Oxford Summer Courses have a commitment to offering our students here tutorial teaching. Every week at Oxford Summer Courses you will have an hour long one-on-one tutorial with an Oxford Tutor. You will have written an essay (just like at Oxford) and will spent the whole hour discussing your essay, it’s arguments and the reading you have done (just like at Oxford).

My tutorial today, here at Oxford, was on the relationship between the Legislature and the Executive at the Westminster Parliament here in Britain. We looked at Select Committees and Public Bill Committees, along with the Wright Reforms of 2010. While this may not be your thing (although it is mine) your tutorials will be done in the subjects you choose to study with us. By offering a wide range of subjects and encouringing you to specialise we ensure that whether it is British Politics or Biology, Economics or English Literature, your one-on-one tutorials will provide you with a phenomenal depth of insight into your chosen subject.

I’ll blog about tutorial again soon, but I’ve got to run off to a society meeting. Do comment if you have any questions about tutorial teaching at Oxford Summer Courses!

Posted: October 31, 2013

A Day at Oxford Summer Courses

It’s now been a few months since Oxford Summer Courses 2013 finished, and I’m back at Oxford getting on with my studies, I’m currently in my final year, but last Friday it struck me in the evening how similar my day had been to a Friday for students at Oxford Summer Courses. So I thought I would share this. It is one of the amazing things about Oxford Summer Courses, because we were founded and are run by Oxford Students and Alumni we make sure that it is a chance to really experience Oxford as it is, so I thought I would share my experience of the similarities of just one day with you:

My Friday started with Breakfast in Hall, I had a cooked English breakfast, and caught up with some friends, before heading to the library to work for the morning. At Oxford Summer Courses you’ll have your tutorials on Friday, and so you’ll spend much of Thursday and Friday morning preparing for them much as I do here as a student. After your tutorial the afternoon is free to relax with friends, maybe play some frizbee or go out for lunch, which is exactly what I did last Friday, meeting a friend for Lunch in town, where there are some amazing places to grab food and either sit and talk, or take a stroll around the Christ Church Meadows.

The evenings are were my favourite part of Friday at Oxford Summer Courses though, just as they are here during Term Time. Every Friday we have a Formal Dinner at one of the Colleges. Formal Hall is a true Oxford institution, and a visit to Oxford would not be complete without it. At Oxford Summer Courses this summer we had Formal Hall at both Somerville College and Wadham College. Both were sumptuous three course meals eaten in the College’s historic halls. This Friday, here at Brasenose College where I study I also got to have Formal Hall, and we had Lamb Shank for the main which was absolutely amazing.

Before dinner though I went to a concert in the ante-chapel at Brasenose given by two students and organised by our director of music. It was sublime, with three piano duets and one solo piece played. This sort of cultural experience is part of what makes studying here so wonderful as a student of the University. Which is why Oxford Summer Courses makes sure you get something similar: while we did have a great trip to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall last year, we like to make the entertainment on Friday evenings slightly more relaxed and informal, so for both of the two week courses, we welcomed one of Britain’s funniest up-and-coming young comedians to do a private comedy show for us at Somerville College. You can see his now classic work here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU) – every student in England knows this sketch!

So on Friday evening, as I relaxed after a marvelous dinner, it was wonderful to reflect on how much Oxford Summer Courses had managed last summer to provide a really authentic Oxford experience, beginning with breakfast in hall and going through the morning preparing for tutorials, to a more relaxed afternoon after the tutorial, and finally with the climax of culture and wonderful food which is Formal Hall, and evening entertainment.

If you want to have an authentic taste of Oxford life next summer, then do check out our website: http://www.oxfordsummercourses.com/

In between my studies here I will continue to post on this Blog too, so do subscribe and stay tuned!

Posted: October 28, 2013

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