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Tuition group policy

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Edited by Patrick Andrews, Monday, 7 Mar 2016, 18:51

I went to a meeting about this in Milton Keynes on Friday.  I think there are many advantages to increasing the amount of collaboration between tutors and also in allowing students more opportunities for tuition. 

There seems to be an expectation amongst some of the OU management that this will lead to improved retention and progression.  However, as far as I can see, it is mainly the very strong students that make use of the extra opportunities for tuition.

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Hello Patrick, 

Is there any news on when the group tuition will actually start? 

Could you share any details on how it will work? 

Thank you for your time. 


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Thanks for the questions, Maria.

I am not responsible for this so my answers will not be official but I will give my impressions.

Group tuition runs differently in different courses.  In some courses, it has already started and in two of my courses, I am paired with other tutors and students are expected to attend two tutorials where there had been one.  In others, there are occasional cross module forums where different tutors run forums so students get access to different points of view,. 

This should all have positive effects,  It should lead to students having more potential tuition so should be a good thing.  There should also be more collaboration amongst tutors and this can also have benefits in terms of renewing their skills.

Tutor Group Policy

There seems to be a bit of a paradox here Patrick. On the face of it any well meaning, positive initiative for improving the learning experience, and possibly the learning outcome can only be beneficial for the students, tutors and the OU alike. Your experience seems to suggest that the beneficial effects are somewhat lessened because the very students who would benefit most are those least likely to give it a try. Since the people who have not made full use of the course are most likely to blame the OU and its tutors for not thinking of providing interesting course innovation perhaps the best course is, once suggested, to go ahead with the change anyway and avoid criticism. Failing that you could quietly "file" any ideas you may have in future until such time as they are a popular suggestion. Terry

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Thanks for the comment, Terry.

Yes, I would agree with this.  It does not seem clear how it will aid retention and progression as generally the students who are most motivated already make good use of the opportunities - as you know from our tutorials.

This does not mean that it is a bad idea.  I think there is great benefit for the tutors in working together as we gain awareness of how different tutors work and we can learn from each other. I also think it is good for students to be exposed to different teaching styles and perspectives.

Sharon Hartles - Zemiologist - because ALL HARM MATTERS

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I agree Patrick. 

Differing perspectives is invaluable.

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Yes, Sharon

I think it might also demonstrate that there is more consistency than some students expect.

The big issue that is not resolved, however, is that some students do not engage enough and group tuition is not really solving that issue.  The most engaged students are getting extra opportunities and the less engaged ones do not seem to be taking the chance to access any of the extra tuition.

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Thank you, Patrick. 

This is all very interesting. Personally, I welcome the opportunity to have more tutorials and different perspectives and teaching methods. 

One more question I have is on marking, I suppose that one tutor will still be in charge of marking the same group of people in order to have continuity and appreciate the progress of a student? 

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Yes, Maria

That is the way it happens at the moment.  In some of the courses I teach, I am part of a group who moderate forums or one of a pair who offer tutorials but I still have my students who are my responsibility.  They will email me with questions, ask me for extensions and have their assignments marked by me.

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Thank you, Patrick smile

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I went to another staff development session this weekend.  It seems that there will be various models.  On that seemed neat in theory was for a cluster of 8 where 7 tutors give a face to face tutorial and one gives an OU Live session covering the same area.  The person giving the OU Live session rotates so that there is always one opportunity to attend an OU Live session for those who cannot make it.