Roanoke College

Information for Students and Tutors


Guidelines for Students and Tutors

Education is a collaborative process that takes place within a classroom not only between instructor and student, but also between students. At times professors will encourage deep collaboration by students outside of class; at other times professors want to see what the student has mastered and can produce alone.

As a type of collaboration, tutoring-whether formal or informal-is subject to the limitations on allowable help set by the professor for each particular assignment. Collaboration on any graded assignment requires the explicit permission of the instructor. Unless a professor gives specific instructions to the contrary, students and tutors must work within the limitations described below. Students and tutors have a responsibility to know the limits of allowable collaboration and to abide by them. Providing or receiving unapproved assistance is a violation of the academic integrity standards of the College and can result in serious penalties, including failure of the course.

The focus of tutoring sessions should be on understanding/mastery of course material and application of skills required to complete the course assignments. Stated another way, tutoring sessions should not be focused on completion of individual assignments but rather on the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in those assignments. Other important roles for tutors include helping students:

  • understand impediments to their learning;
  • develop learning strategies, habits, and priorities;
  • plan the process for writing a paper;
  • understand how to use sources effectively;
  • understand the feedback given by the professor.

Ultimately, work submitted for a course must be the direct product of the student's effort and not the collaborative effort of student and tutor. It is never acceptable for a tutor to do the work on the student's behalf. The following general guidelines illustrate these principles:

Tutors should not work through items from an assigned problem set with students; instead, tutors should help students understand the concepts, formulas, etc. necessary to complete the assigned problem set by working through similar problems (as found in the chapter or problems done in class).

Tutors should not correct mistakes in grammar or calculations; instead a tutor can inform a student that he or she is having trouble with a particular rule/process, explain the rule/process, and ask the student to apply it to his or her own work.

Tutors should not edit, rephrase, or rewrite sections of a student paper; instead, tutors can help students identify strengths and weaknesses of their papers and help the student create a plan for addressing weaknesses.


Revised May 31, 2013