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Collaborating on materials at a distance

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I have recently been writing materials for L185 Online Tutorials with some colleagues.  It has been an interesting and generally positive experience although there are challenges as well.

We have been able to develop materials in an exploratory way with different writers challenging the logic and also suggesting alternative ways of doing things.  There has also been some checking of relatively minor mistakes.

The biggest challenge has often been in terms of coordination and knowing which is the latest version of each piece of material.


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Patrick Andrews

The language of tutor group forums

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 24 Nov 2011, 12:16

There has been some discussion amongst the E852 tutors about the nature of the tutor group forums and, in particular, how formal and academic the language should be.  It is a complex question and it perhaps relates to the relative importance of different aims for the forums.

One of the aims is for the students to interact and this would seem to suggest that the language should be relatively informal.  Encouragement of interaction would perhaps tend to focus on frequent and relatively unreflective posting.

Another aim would be for students to explore ideas on the course.  This might suggest a more academic style as students refer to experience as well as what they have been reading.

Another important aim might be for the students to rehearse the kinds of ideas and the language needed for their later work.  This might tend to suggest that students should post in a relatively academic way.

I would think that it might be appropriate for the students to use a variety of different voices as they post but would be interested in what others think.


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Patrick Andrews

More by Stefan Collini on university funding

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 23 Aug 2011, 12:10

Another article from the London Review of Books


Two points that I think are important are:

1  that academics frequently collaborate and therefore the attempt to introduce competition is not very appropriate

2 learning is frequently hard and that student pleasure is not necessarily synonymous with learning. 


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Patrick Andrews

Online group work

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014, 22:58

It has been interesting that online group work for L185 seems to have been particularly successful this time - it is working how it should.

It is noticeable that there is a lot of supportive chat going on as well as the task focused discussion.  There are many women in the groups and this does tend to confirm that women post more of what Rovai (2001: 41) calls “socio-emotional messages”.

Rovai, A.P. (2001) “Building classroom community at a distance: a case study” Education Technology Research and Development, Vol. 49, No. 4, 2001, pp. 33–48


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