The university has been going through a lot of changes. One
of the side effects of these changes is that I have now become a home worker
(which I’m a bit grumpy about). To prepare for a delivery of a new desk, I’ve
started to sort out loads of old papers. The process usually involves looking
at a bundle of papers and thinking, ‘why did I keep this?’
I recently stumbled across a hand written form that relates
to my first year of tutoring on the TM470 project module. Rather than putting
it in a file (or in the recycling), I thought I would transcribe it and share
it. I hope it is useful to someone!
The form is divided into four sections:
Project themes (in my
tutor group this year)
The form was asking for the projects that students in my
tutor group chose. I’ve decided to edit this bit and be pretty general. The
project were about: an app evaluation, a database implementation, and a website
Issues encountered (and how I resolved them)
One of the challenges was projects that had a very big or
wide scope. Subsequently, another issue was projects that had a really narrow
scope. It was sometimes quite difficult to get hold of some students. There
were many students asking for extensions. The marking (of course) was quite
challenging, and on occasions I was asked to do some remarking. It was also
difficult to keep students on track, mostly because everyone on the project
module is different and have their own circumstances.
What I have learned (including positives)
The first item I noted was: broadness of project topics. The
students can, of course, surprise you. What struck me was the importance of the
literature review in the module. I learnt more about how the project module was
connected to other modules in the Computing and IT programme and also how it
was different to other modules. It was useful to think of the module in terms
of it being an ‘extension to level 3 modules’; creating a database isn’t
enough: students need to demonstrate skills and go further in terms of either
their understanding principles (such as transactions or concurrency) or the application
of ideas. I also learnt the importance of sending out ‘update’ emails.
Ideas for next year (things I could do differently)
Each student is given four hours of support time. Different
students and different tutors may use this time in different ways. One thought
is: after initial contact (perhaps even by telephone), is to run an
introductory tutorial for the student group.
Another note I made was, ‘emphasise
the library screenshare’; this comment relate to a session that is run by the
OU library, to help students with a literature review. Another note I made was:
‘be a bit more persistent in terms of following up; call them after their TMAs’.
Another thought was an interesting one: ‘try to get students talking to each
other’. A related point was: get students presenting to each other.