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Quoting and paraphrasing

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 17 Jul 2018, 23:12

I have been marking quite a large number of TMAs for L185 (EAP Online) and LB170 (Communication Skills for Business and Management) and notice that many students only reference when they quote something from a source.  I suppose this is a common misconception that references are only needed when the exact words are used.  Perhaps this is compounded by the way that sometimes students are asked to write from a limited number of sources that they know I, as the marker, has read.  They also have to use a great deal of material from these sources and it can perhaps seem unclear where the reference would go - at the end of each sentence, at the end of a paragraph, at the end of several paragraphs?  Considering how to be more effective in raising awareness will be an important aspect of teaching on these courses next year.



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Student perspectives on Brexit

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I mentioned before that students on a Business Communication course are referring to Brexit in their own work.  These students are working in a variety of businesses.  It is striking that none of them see Brexit as being positive but are also assuming a "softer" Brexit than the government seems to be promising.  It makes me wonder whether businesses are being complacent about the likelihood of a "hard" Brexit or whether the government is presenting the worst possible case scenario seem likely so that voters will be "impressed" when it does not happen.

Assignments are certainly more interesting this year, which is perhaps the only positive of the referendum result.

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The topic of Brexit in assignments

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One of the courses I teach on is LB160 Professional communication for Business Studies and for their final assignment, students need to write about issues that are important to their businesses.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, Brexit is a topic that has been mentioned as a threat to the businesses they work in.  As mentioned in an earlier posting, it looks like Brexit will have profound effects on the Open University and it also looks like it will on many other businesses in the UK.

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The challenges of academic writing for students at level 1

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 4 Feb 2016, 12:33

I have been having interesting discussions with some students through email and OU Live about academic writing.  These relate to issues of avoiding being too informal and personal while also being evaluative and developing a point of view.

Part of the issue is that academic writing tends to value concision and personal markers tend to use words that would be better used for other things. 

However, it is important for students to show stance.  They can do this by using a variety of evaluative words such as "major/partial").  Epistemic modality ie modal verbs for likelihood (eg "might/will") or deontic modality ie modal verbs used to express desirability ("should/must") are ways that students can show their stance without being too personal in style.

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New courses about to start

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 29 Sep 2015, 17:46

I am about to start tutoring on courses about to enter new presentations (E852. L161, LB160, L185).  It is slightly confusing that for some courses, I can post introductory messages on the Tutor Group Forum but students cannot reply - I am not really sure why this distinction is made.

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OU Live problems

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I had an OU Live session tonight for LB160 and there were big problems with students being thrown out of the room and then being unable to get back in.  I think this must be very frustrating for the students concerned and I wonder what effect this has on motivation and retention.

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Recording some teaching materials

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 15:41

Yesterday, I was interviewed on reading strategies (along with a colleague, Anna Calvi) as part of the development of listening materials for a rewrite for LB160 "Communication Skills for Business Studies" (the new module will be LB170).

It was an interesting experience.  I was surprised at how quickly we finished the recording and most of it was done on the first take.  One of the few parts that went to a second take were the result of my drinking some water being picked up by the microphone.  Other reasons for second takes included very obvious stumbles over words and a missed cue (I though Anna was responsible for one answer I should have spoken on).

I think there will be some editing of the product but authenticity is more highly prized than linguistic polish.  So, some hesitators, false starts etc will be included.

 

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An "intense" OU Live session

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014, 13:23

I had an OU Live meeting last night which seemed particularly intense in terms of the demands that I was under.  One of the students was having problems with sound so was typing about this problem in the chat box.  I was feeling under pressure to support her as I also spoke and manipulated the white board and also tried to encourage engagement from the other students in the group.  Sometimes the demands on tutors can be quite extreme when doing OU Live sessions.

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OU Live for LB160

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 21:45

OU Live is being used for LB160 for the first time this presentation.  We had the first two sessions last week.  Students in one group needed help getting used to the technology but those in the second group were already familiar with similar systems which meant we could concentrate on the content of the session.

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OU anywhere

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014, 13:23

I have recently downloaded this to my phone and iPad.  It seems quite useful although not all of the modules I teach seem to have content available.  I would have thought it would be most useful on tablets.

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Giving feedback by podcast

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I decided to use a podcast to give general feedback for students on LB160 to see if this use of the spoken mode might be effective in getting attention.  So far, the response seems to be quite favourable but it is always hard to know how many people listen.

The podcast is at:

http://patrickandrews.podbean.com/2012/08/28/lb160-feedback/

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