How we teach
At the University of Reading you will benefit from access to the latest research, and the leading knowledge and expertise of our award-winning staff.
We inspire a dynamic and interactive approach to teaching and learning, nurturing an ambitious and supportive environment in which you can maximise your potential and achieve both your personal and academic goals.
Lectures and Tutorials
Your lectures will be supported by small group tutorials where you can have one-to-one discussions with the staff member and PhD student facilitating the session. You will also spend time in PC labs learning how to programme the software used on a daily basis by those in industry and our research staff.
In the first year we also support all of our teaching with tutorials – these are hour-long sessions in which each academic tutor meets with all of their tutees (typically 6). As a group you will tackle one or two questions on topics from subjects such as Differential Equations, the Foundations of Mathematics and Probability. Building a relationship with your academic tutor is really important, so they can provide you with effective support throughout your time with us, and write more personable references for placements and job applications towards the end of your degree.
We facilitate Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL), in which our final year students provide optional additional support sessions during your first year. They will help to develop your understanding of Real Analysis – an area of mathematics completely new to undergraduate students. Evidence from universities around the world that actively encourage Peer-Assisted Learning shows huge benefits for students involved.
Here’s what Alice Bayes, second year BSc Mathematics student, had to say about PAL:
“PAL in first year was a great opportunity to have the content explained by people who’d studied it relatively recently, because they knew the aspects that would seem most confusing to us and provided practical tips for how to get your head round them and how to prioritise what to memorise. However, there were also parts of PAL which still benefit me two years on, because it highlighted the benefits of peer group study, and showed us how to play to our own and others’ strengths.
I decided to apply to be a PAL leader in my third year because I believe my skills lie in teaching and facilitating the learning of others. I hope to develop this skill further by learning how to explain topics I still find tricky, and how to engage much older students. I believe other benefits will be in the form of transferable skills – honing my presentation and group work abilities.”
Our staff also have weekly drop-in sessions, and open-door policies, so help is never far away.
As you move through your years at university the class sizes reduce as students choose optional modules in their specific areas of interest. Third and fourth year modules can have as few as 15 students taking them, increasing the staff-student ratio to guide you through the more complex material in your degree during your crucial final year.
As part of the Mathematics and Statistics Department you'll have the chance to have a direct input into the way that we teach through our Staff Student Forums and the Student Teaching and Learning Group. For example, we are including a new computing module in our courses because of feedback from students.
Every module we teach also has the provision of giving you the opportunity to provide feedback in the form of our Module Evaluation Questionnaires; these are an invaluable tool in helping staff develop their teaching materials and skills.