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26 November 2015

Understanding the tutor’s perspective: TT284, T320 and TU100

Location: Meeting Room 10, 2nd Floor, JLB
Time: 12:30pm - 13:45pm

Many people contribute to the student experience: academics, members of student support teams and associate lecturers. All of these groups are really important, but it is the associate lecturers who represent the ‘academic front line’ of the university; students invariably contact their tutors if they have questions about module materials or forthcoming assignments. This seminar is a summary of three interconnected qualitative studies that aims to understand the experience of our associate lecturers. My thesis is simple: since tutors are so important in terms of the student experience, we need to listen to them. The views of our tutors can tell us how we can best support them, and how we might go about enhancing and developing our modules. The first case study is about T320 e-business, which is soon to be superseded by TM352 Web Mobile and Cloud. Three experienced tutors are invited to a focus group to share their views about issues and concerns about not just the module, but also about being an associate lecturer. The second case study is a richer qualitative study that aims to understand the tutor experience of TT284 Web Technologies tutors. Tutors are asked about issues, problems and concerns; the research is tutor led, and is carried out by two existing TT284 tutors. The final study is all about understanding the accessibility of TU100. Two participants are interviewed: a visually impaired student, and a tutor who discloses a visual impairment. All tutors interviewed have a lot to say, and there is a sense that they are very keen to be heard. They are concerned about their students, have suggestions about how technology should be used and hold opinions about the design and structure of modules. In absence of certain types of materials, tutors have taken it upon themselves to create their own materials. A positive side effect of carrying this type of study is that it facilitates the development of closer working relationships. This has important implications in terms of fostering connections with module teams, and designing AL development activities. Biography Chris Douce is a Staff Tutor/Lecturer in the Open University in London. He studied Computer Science at Salford University and went on to study the Psychology of Programming at the University of Manchester. He joined the OU in 2006 as a part time associate lecturer, tutoring on M364 Fundamentals of Interaction Design and then H810 Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students. He became a Research Fellow in IET two years later, where he supported a number of EU funded projects, later becoming a Staff Tutor in the London region, where he supports a number of modules, including TU100, TM129, TT284, T320, T216 as well as T324 and T325. He regularly facilitates AL development events at AL development conferences. His research interests include: pedagogy of computer programming, the pedagogy of tools used for distance learning, and the application and use of social media.

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Contact: mailto:paul.piwek@open.ac.uk