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Patrick Andrews

Online tutorials from a tutor's perspective

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Saturday, 9 Dec 2023, 12:10

As a tutor, it is very helpful to have responses from students during the tutorial.

A few students in recent tutorials have put on their cameras and it is good to see them.  Many students say how my having my camera on helps them to feel more part of the group and reminds them that they are being engaged with in real time.  However, I recognise that there are good reasons why some students might not want their cameras on.

It is good to hear students' voices, at least at the beginning of the tutorial and I do think this also makes everyone feel that we are involved in a collective endeavour.  However, much academic work is done in a written format and use of the text chat option seems reasonable for many tutorials.  It is also quite advantageous in that many people can post at the same time.  It is helpful if students write messages like "This is helpful/I don't understand/I get this/ How is this relevant" in the chat box so I can know their reactions and what they think they are learning.

What can be difficult is to teach with is when students do not give any kind of feedback/response during a tutorial.  This means that the tutor is not clear whether the students are following or whether what is being discussed is too basic.  Just a few comments in the text box or empjis are much appreciated by tutors.

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Patrick Andrews

Adobe connect sessions

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One of the most striking features of Adobe Connect sessions is that they are very unpredictable.  Sometimes, I have 20 students or more and sometimes it is just one student.  There certainly seems to be very little relationship between how many have signed up for the tutorial and how many actually attend.

I have had a couple of one to one sessions over the past few days and thought that they worked well.  It meant that I was able to get to know the student and work flexibly with them.  In both cases, there were some interruptions for family reasons on the student's part and they were able to disappear for a few seconds to deal with them and then we could resume the tutorial.  It also meant that we could focus on what the student felt they needed to focus on and pass over or ignore what was less important to them.

I had spoken with friends who had been teaching online in a university where tutorial attendance was compulsory and they found this hard to visualise and they asked questions like "how do you prepare if you don't know how many students come?"  I suppose the ability to be flexible is a key part of working at the Open University.

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