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eLC eSTEeM Themed Event

Wednesday, 16 January, 2013 - 10:00
Wednesday, 16 January, 2013 - 12:00
Library Seminar Rooms 1 & 2
eLC Team

The first eLearning Community event of 2013 features projects from the OU’s eSTEeM initiative. eSTEeM brings together academics in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to promote innovation, scholarship and enterprise in open and distance learning.

We have four talks by OU academics who are each leading an eSTEeM project: Rita Tingle and Clem Herman from MCT; David Robinson and Mark Jones from Science. You will hear about progress in their projects so far, and how the projects relate to OU teaching and learning in STEM disciplines.

The event will take place in the OU Library Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, from 10:00 – 12:00 and is open to all OU staff. If you would like to attend, please email

Feel free to attend all or some of the talks. Further details and timings are below.

The event will be recorded and available on Stadium ( as a replay. (Intranet only)

Information about this and other eLC events in Knowledge Network and Cloudworks.

If you are interested in this message, but not part of the eLC mailing list (i.e. it was forwarded to you), consider subscribing to strategy-elearning-community-list at to receive extra advance notice of events and copies of the eLC Digest.

10:00 Welcome

10:05 – 10:25 David Robinson (Science)

Designing a generic model for researcher-centred science investigation modules

Academic staff in other universities generally offer a short course in their own research area, often linked to practical work, to students in their final year. Such a course links a member of staff with a small group of students. The course can often be presented using the most up-to-date research findings as the staff member is teaching in their research area. Despite the specialised nature of the subject area such courses teach generic skills. In the Open University, such direct links with staff engaged in research rarely – if ever – occur.

Against the background of declining practical work in a laboratory and increasing availability of technology, it is timely to look at new models of distance learning linked to practical work. The presentation in this session describes progress in developing a model that would enable individual academic researchers to offer a personally-led module as part of an honours level programme in an on-line distance learning curriculum. The academic would take responsibility for presenting the module and assessing it, using a standard module design. The use of new technology should make this personal link between academic researcher and students a practical proposition.

10:30 – 10:50 Mark Jones (Science)

Developing practice in online synchronous tuition by peer observation, feedback and reflection

Current training and development for online synchronous tuition (using systems such as Elluminate Live!) tends to focus on technical usage rather than pedagogy. This project created an environment where tutorial staff for Physical Science modules were encouraged to develop their practice in the online environment by a process of peer observation, feedback and reflection. This approach is currently being evaluated based on the experience of the Associate Lecturers who took part, with the aim of understanding whether peer observation has a role as a developmental tool for pedagogic practice for online tuition, and if so, how might it be used more widely.

10:55 – 11:10 Coffee

11:15 – 11:35 Rita Tingle (MCT)

Student motivation to engage with formative quizzes

Module teams are being encouraged to increase their use of formative assessment in order to reduce the workload of course presentation. Formative assessment provides opportunities for student engagement with a module, but requires more self-motivation from students. An OU study indicates that students who are short of time tend to work tactically as the module progresses and many only complete summative assessments (Jordan and Butcher, 2010). In this study six students were interviewed who had completed a level 1 computing module which included both formative and summative quizzes. Motivators and barriers to attempting quizzes were discussed and some common themes emerged from these interviews. The results will be used to inform implementation of quizzes in a level 2 computing module leading to a further platform for study.

11:35 – 11:55 Clem Herman (MCT)

Careers and employability for STEM professionals

The Career Development for STEM professionals project aimed to evaluate the long term outcomes in terms of employability and career progression for women returners who participated on the T160 Return to SET short course, with a view to creating a sustainable model which meets the needs of students and professionals who are seeking to build and develop careers in STEM. Questionnaires and interviews were carried out with students who attended the first presentations of the course in 2005/6 and analysed using an employability matrix that identified internal, personal and external influences on career outcomes. This presentation will outline results from the data collected and will include a demonstration of an animated ‘racecourse’ developed by the project team that enables learning materials from the module to be explored in a fun and interactive way without the formal structure of a 10 week course.

12:00 Close

To view the presentations please see the 'Presentations' section under the 'Resources' tab.