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Associate Lecturer Assembly

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Friday, 23 Nov 2018, 10:03

I have been spending the day at the Associate Lecturer Assembly.

There was a brief talk by Mary Keller, the Acting Vice Chancellor, followed by a more extended discussion.  She was persuasive and quite inspiring in some ways.  She seems very committed to the vision of the Open University making a difference to students’ lives.  She also seems flexible about ways of working, including the continuance of face to face as well as online tuition.  I certainly feel more optimistic about the OU’s future than under the previous VC.

We were also updated on the prospect of an AL contract.  There has been discussion of the for nearly two decades but it now looks more likely than at any previous time.  This should make the position of tutors more secure.

In the afternoon, there was an interesting talk by Cath Brown, President of the Open University Students Association.  We discussed the issue of whether we thought we should encourage students to use microphones rather than text chat in online tutorials.  I tend to think it should depend on context but the widespread use of text chat in online tutorials can be useful but is very tiring for the tutor if they need to speak and monitor and in these cases, tutorials should be kept to one hour in length.

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Open University AL development days

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 13 Mar 2017, 06:41

I attended the AL development event in Bristol this weekend.

The first session looked at how the OU is shown in some online videos made by ex-students.  These were an interesting view of how students see the experience.  One was made by a young woman who was very positive and she expressed how hard she had to work and that although she had the chance to attend tutorials, she never had the time. 

The second session was led by David Knight and he was given quite a hard time by ALs who felt they were undervalued and that some changes are imposed too quickly.  He was brave to come in some ways and coped as well as could reasonably be expected considering the disquiet about OU management.

The smaller sesions were both good and I went to a session on academic practice/plagiarism and one on mental health.  I particularly felt that the session on mental health was thought provoking.  It was pointed out that most mental health conditions are a matter of reporting and that many might be undiagnosed.

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