[MUSIC] In the last lesson, we looked at the rhetorical situation as a framework for describing different elements of social context and how these elements impact communication. Now, we'll look at different situations you'll encounter in your university courses using elements of the rhetorical situation to describe them. This will help you to understand the purpose and expectations for each of these situations. In this lecture, we'll refer to different rhetorical situations at university with commonly used names, such as seminars, tutorials, or lectures. We've used a naming system that is quite common at many universities but these situations sometimes go by different names in different countries or even at different universities in the same country. To add to the confusion sometimes the same names are used to refer to different things. However, the general contexts themselves remain constant across different institutions. The best approach to ensure that you understand the requirements for various situations is to investigate the names of different course components at the university you end up attending. By looking out for the key features of the rhetorical situation that we will describe in this and the following lectures. Now, we'll look more closely at courses at university, and different components of these courses. You can select from a variety of different courses to build up your degree program in your major. Some of these courses maybe core or required components that every person in your major needs to do. Others may be electives or optional courses that you can select to enhance your degree in some way. Each course sits within a faculty such as sociology or engineering and addresses a particular topic within that field. Each university term, you'll take a number of courses at the same time. The main aim of university courses is to build your understanding of the target topic in the field. They do this by using different forms of communication. As Clark describes, to communicate is, as the Latin word suggests, to make common. To establish ideas as common among two or more people. This is true for our everyday communication with friends and family members as well as in academic context. University courses are made up of different rhetorical situations, that address aspects of the topic, through different media, and for different purposes. These occur regularly throughout the term in order to ensure that the key learning outcomes are addressed during the time frame. One component of a university course is a syllabus or unit of study outline. This is a document that summarizes all of the information about what a course will address and how it is run. In a unit of study outline, you can find the subtopics of the course, schedules of course meetings and assignments, and readings that you need to complete before, or after course meetings. These documents are also a helpful guide to the rhetorical situations you will encounter throughout the course. Typically they also list key learning outcomes which we mentioned previously. These are the key skills and topics that students who complete the course will be expected to have mastered. They can help you to understand the expectations for your participation in the course. We'll look at a unit of study outline in more detail in the next lesson. Readings are another component of courses. They are essential texts that are drawn upon in various ways in the course. They are used to transmit topical information and provide the basis for discussions. Students can refer to them when preparing for lectures and when doing assessments. Either as evidence for arguments as the object of analysis or as a reference tool for the key concepts in the assessment. Another component is the team of people who run a university course. A course or unit coordinator is a person who works for the faculty and organizes several courses. You may never have contact with this person or you may contact them if you have administrative issues. A university lecturer is in charge of the content and facilitation of each course. University lecturers are academics in their respective field. They have completed PhDs and are experts. They design and write the course syllabus and select the materials. There are various titles used by lecturers depending on their level of advancement at the university and the country in which they are working, such as Professor, Senior Lecturer or Associate Professor. In the US it's typical to call any lecturer a professor, even though in the university system this is a specific term that refers to the most senior level of academic. Often there are tutors or teaching assistants, called TAs, who help a course lecturer deliver the course. Tutors and TAs are usually PhD students. They sit in on the lectures, and assist with running tutorials and marking assessments. Let's look now at some common rhetorical situations that can make up university courses. A few of these are typically used in more particular fields, but most of them occur across the whole university. The primary difference between each of these is the purpose. Because they are designed to serve different functions in the course. The first situation we'll talk about is lectures. Lectures are scheduled regularly through out the university term, typically once or twice a week for one to two hours. The course lecturer or professor is the author. He or she has written the lecture materials and presents this information to the audience, the students. All students in the course typically attend lectures and they are the audience. The audience can be very large. In first year courses, there may be hundreds of students at the lectures. Sometimes students can be authors in the lectures too, as there may be an opportunity to ask questions. Lectures may be held in large lecture theaters and auditoriums or they maybe be held in classrooms, depending on the size. According to Brick, Herke, and Wong, the purpose of the lecture is for the lecturer to give the key information about the topic for the week, including relevant concepts, theories, and approaches, as outlined in the course outline. There may also be announcements made about upcoming assignments or changes to the syllabus. The main media is one way face to face communication, meaning that the students sit and listen while the lecturer speaks. If the course is online, students may stream the lecture. The lecturer may use presentation slides or a white board to visually present information or they may refer to handouts or readings. The next main component of course is called a tutorial in some countries, and a recitation in others. We'll refer to them as tutorials. Not all courses have tutorials. According to Brick, Herke and Wong, the purpose of tutorials is to provide practice and discussion of the lecture content. So there's a strong expectation for students to ask questions. In large courses, there are multiple tutorial streams with 15 to 30 students in each stream. Tutorials are taught by tutors, also called TAs or teaching assistants. Tutors are typically PhD students in the subject area. They are the primary authors because they bring the problem sets and facilitate the activities. However, students have a strong voice, too, given that part of the purpose is asking questions so that the tutor can focus the session according to their needs. In this sense, students are also authors, and the tutor, or TA, is also an audience. Because tutorials are smaller than lectures, they are typically held in classrooms. Though the media, a face to face interaction is the same. Along with tools such as whiteboards and handouts. Another part of courses are seminars. Seminars sit somewhere between lectures and tutorials. They're usually smaller in size than lectures, and like tutorials, they're more discussion-based than lectures. But the discussion serves a different purpose. In tutorials, the discussion is for practicing the concepts presented in the lectures through problem sets and examples. In seminars, the discussion is led by a lecturer rather than a tutorer and it's part of the topical course content. By responding to students' input, lecturers give key information in a more informal, spontaneous way. Therefore, there are two authors, the lecturer and the students. Seminars are usually held in classrooms. Participants frequently draw upon readings, handouts and may use a whiteboard as they discuss through face-to-face interaction. Finally, there are assessments. Assessments maybe the most feared part of a course because they're where the grades for the course come from. Another way of seeing assessments is as a rhetorical situation with the purpose of communicating what you have learned with your lecturer or tutors. This means that your marker isn't looking for things you have done wrong. In fact, they want you to succeed and are looking for evidence that you have capably taken up the course content. The author of assessments is either one student or a pair or group of students, while the primary audience is the lecturer or tutor. It will help when you write your assignments to remember what your lecturer sees as important in your field and what kind of work they respect. As you get to know your lecturer in the course, take note of his or her attitude to different topics, theories and other academics or experts in the field. While you aren't expected to duplicate his or her opinion, it is helpful to keep in mind as you communicate to them, through your assignments. Assements can take a lot of different forms. Often they are written texts such as essays or reports or they may take the form of a presentation. You may need to facilitate a seminar on a particular topic or create a portfolio of work samples. It's important to keep the media in mind and let this inform your style. Written work uses more formal academic language than spoken and incorporates references to the literature in different ways. We'll cover this in later modules. So in this lesson, we've looked at the different contexts of communication that you will encounter in your university courses. Hopefully, by understanding the purpose behind each component of your courses, you'll feel more confident about knowing what you need to do, and how you're expected to do it. [MUSIC].