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Patrick Andrews

Use of video in online tutorials

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When we first started using online tutorials (Elluminate), advice was to avoid the use of webcams because the quality was not good enough.  However, I recently saw an OU document recommending the use of webcams by the tutor and I have been switching it on recently.  Student response seems to be quite favourable with comments like "It is good to put a face to the name and voice", which slightly surprised me as most of the time I focus on the whiteboard, slides and chat.  However, if it makes a difference to how students feel about the experience, I am very happy to have my webcam on.

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Shannon-Maria Ratcliffe

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I think from the start of my OU journey where there were in person tutorials which I found far more educational than the current online tutorial decision (where essentially all they are doing is reading off a powerpoint presentation the same information that is in the assessment guide and not really teaching or tutoring anything at all) has turned a lot of people off. It is hard enough being an online student dealing with feelings of "taking this journey alone" but add to that a basic point form presentation listing word for word what we've already been reading to prepare for our assignments and just a voice reading it off... it's sadly so much worse. I think video of the tutor is a start, so I commend you on that, but I think there really should be some attempt at returning to in-person tutorials. We don't all learn the same way, and some of us need a connection to do our best. 
As a side note, good friendly interaction with students who do reach out via email does wonders - as opposed to a five word one line sentence response I received from some tutors (not you, but there are some).
I think it is great you're always looking for ways to improve your working relationship with your students.

Patrick Andrews

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Thanks for the comment, Shannon.

I am disappointed there will be very few face to face tutorials next year.  I am due to teach one only.

I agree with you that they are often better.  For example, I like giving students key terms on slips of paper and them talking about them while the rest of the class works out which term it is.  It is difficult to replicate this online.  I also like the way we can look at texts and I can see how students are reading them, judging how long they need and what is puzzling etc.

I think there is a role for online tutorials and they allow for more flexibility in terms of timing.  A good balance might be 50% face to face and 50% online.  Perhaps the very limited number this year are just a cautious return post pandemic and there will be more in the future.