OU blog

Personal Blogs

Using sources - observing processes in face to face teaching

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Patrick Andrews, Saturday, 21 Sep 2019, 12:12

I have recently finished teaching on a pre-sessional course and I was intrigued by some of the ways some students were using sources.

One aspect I noticed was that many students tended to put a full stop before references that should have been at the end of sentences.  I notice that this is also common with students on online courses.  This seems to suggest a mindset that regards the reference as being separate from the rest of the sentence (and perhaps the text).

This is perhaps reinforced by the way that some students inserted references after they had drafted quite extensively.  This is something that I do not really see in my teaching of online students as I tend to only read the final products (the TMAs) although LB170 allows for some reading of drafts.  Again, this seems to suggest a lack of integration with the text. 

I wonder if the problem is that there is too much emphasis on the mechanics of referencing rather than the purposes and opportunities.  Referring to sources allows a writer to be able to show that they are aware of how what they write relates to what others have written and that academic texts are often dialogues with the ideas of previous writers.

I mentioned some of the points in a twitter thread that begins at https://twitter.com/patrickelt/status/1174635019555487744

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Feedback from students

Visible to anyone in the world

Final results for many of the courses I teach have just been released.  Some students have given feedback on the courses, which I think is useful for me and the designers of the courses as it indicates what students think has been particularly pertinent for their needs.

The comments are probably quite altruistic but I think they can improve the effectiveness of my future support for students on future courses.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Quoting and paraphrasing

Visible to anyone in the world
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.



Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Screencasts

Visible to anyone in the world

I am experimenting with the use of screencasts to support students with study skills and content on analysing English grammar.  So far, I have made the following:

On aspects of theme https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cFehbwDXbm

Lexical cohesion https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cFnrb4o9kt

Passives https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cFVlbloloz

Using sources in assignments https://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cFVX6oo6C5


Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Collaborating on materials at a distance

Visible to anyone in the world

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.

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Teaching students in prison

Visible to anyone in the world

Over the past few years, I have been teaching students in prison on some OU courses and it was good to discuss some of the issues at Saturday's staff development day in Bristol.

One thing that has become clear is that prisoners are very diverse and the circumstances are also very diverse.  They vary greatly in terms of how much time and space there is for study.  Some students submit early because they feel they have so much free time to fill whereas oithers have many other duties (one I taught was doing many jobs and many other courses).  Students can also be disrupted by suddenly having to share cells.  An issue I was not aware of before doing this work is that many prisoners change prisons quite frequently and at short notice.  Apparently, they are not always able to take their materials with them, which must be very disruptive.

I think OU tutors are used to being flexible and working with prisons demands this habit of being flexible.  For example, visits can be cancelled at short notice and some students submit by post and this might mean they arrive at unexpected times.  Some prisons have much stricter security procedures than others and tutors need to be prepared for long waits at the gate although sometimes entry can be reasonably quick.

A big issue for the OU as an institution is enabling courses to be accessible to prison students and courses that are completely online (eg L185 EAP Online) are not available to students.  Unfortunately, this would be a very useful course for many students in prison.

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Patrick Andrews, Wednesday, 16 Mar 2016, 09:39)
Share post

The challenges of academic writing for students at level 1

Visible to anyone in the world
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.

Permalink 5 comments (latest comment by Patrick Andrews, Wednesday, 10 Feb 2016, 11:51)
Share post

New courses about to start

Visible to anyone in the world
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.

Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Patrick Andrews, Sunday, 4 Oct 2015, 14:46)
Share post

EMA results

Visible to anyone in the world

EMA results for several courses I teach (L161, L185 and E303) have recently been released.  There is very strong correlation between high scores and attendance at tutorials (either face to face or OU Live).  Of course, this does not prove causation as the students getting high marks might be those who are most motivated or at least those most able to devote time to the course.  However, it is an interesting link.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Tutor discussion on OU Live

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015, 16:17

For the L185 course, there are occasional OU Live chats amongst the tutors and course chairs (called "watercooler meetings") to discuss issues of concern and interest.  We had one last night and one of the issues was feedback and whether students read them effectively. 

I have the impression that students who are successful tend to read the feedback quite carefully but those whose marks are lower may not read them so carefully (if at all).  It is difficult to disentangle cause and effects here as perhaps students produce stronger assignments if they read feedback or perhaps those getting good marks are keener to revel in the praise. 

I am thinking of how to persuade students to read more of the feedback and act on it.  Something I have tried was refer back to feedback on previous assignments to show how they have/have not improved in the aspects I mentioned.  One issue is to avoid seeming tectchy if there has been little progress between assignments.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Meeting students again

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 4 Nov 2014, 16:15

I currently teach courses at level 1 and level 3 (plus a Masters level module).  This year, some of my students in the level 3 module, Analysing English Grammar (E303) are students I know from having taught them EAP Online (L185).  It will be interesting to see the extent to which they have developed and used the skills of EAP Online.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Welcome to new students on E303 and L185

Visible to anyone in the world

Students on these course are just starting a new presentation.  There is beginning to be some activity on the Tutor Group Forums.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

End of two courses for this presentation

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014, 13:35

Recently finished L185 and E301 for this presentation - time goes so quickly.  They are both good courses and students who work hard on them learn a great deal.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Supporting students through tutor group forums

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 20 Mar 2014, 16:04

I have been thinking about the roles of the tutor group forums in supporting learners and this seems to be particularly relevant on L185 where learners face more challenging texts for TMA 4 than they had been exposed to before.

It seems to me that the following could help to scaffold them:

- encouraging top down reading strategies

- asking questions

- encouraging learners to use the "collective intelligence* of the group.

Permalink 17 comments (latest comment by Patrick Andrews, Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014, 10:47)
Share post

OU anywhere

Visible to anyone in the world
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.

Permalink
Share post

Elluminate and teacher strain

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 20 Jan 2014, 15:51

Due to circumstances, I had two Elluminate sessions on the same day last Saturday (one should have been a face to face tutorial but was changed to Elluminate as the venue was closed and many students would have found it difficult to get to Bristol anyway with the transport chaos).

It was very much more tiring than a similar amount of face to face teaching would be and the intensity of Elluminate teaching was very apparent.

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Elluminate meeting on Saturday for L185

Visible to anyone in the world

We had an Elluminate meeting on Saturday for L185.

There are now issues relating to level of experience with Elluminate.  A few years ago, all students tended to need an introduction to the technology.  However, many of the students are now familiar with it from other courses.  For these students, introductory activities are perhaps not so useful but there are also students who are new who need a gentle introduction.

I suppose I need to clarify to students the expectations of the first session and also provide more content that is interesting in its own right.

Permalink
Share post

Elluminate

Visible to anyone in the world

I have had a busy week on Elluminate this week with sessions on consecutive evenings.  It is quite an intense way of working, especially with small groups.  I think I need to work on giving time to students to think and not be afraid of the silence as they think.

Would any of the participants like to comment?

 

Permalink
Share post

Elluminate and L185

Visible to anyone in the world

A new L185 has recently started.  I did the first Elluminate session with one of the groups a couple of days ago.  It seemed to work reasonably well although there were some problems with loss of sound.

Would any of the participants care to comment on how they felt about it?

 

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Evaluating online sources

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Patrick Andrews, Tuesday, 15 Nov 2011, 15:52

Some useful guidelines can be found here:

http://edsitement.neh.gov/reference-shelf/tips-for-better-browsing/evaluating-online-resources

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Start of L185

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Patrick Andrews, Thursday, 19 May 2011, 15:53

New course starts this week.

So far, there are a lot of enthusiastic responses on the tutor group forum.

Permalink
Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 492673