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  5. All change, but does tuition in cluster groups work?

All change, but does tuition in cluster groups work?

Project leader(s): 
Helen Jefferis

Research question: What functions do cluster level tutorials fulfil when offered as part of Level 1 Computing & IT studies?


  1. To provide recommendations to the Faculty and School on the optimum tuition strategy needed to enhance Level 1 student engagement in their studies.
  2. To provide recommendations to the Faculty and School on the staff development needed to enhance the digital experience of our students when attending tutorials.

Pedagogic issue: In 2016 the Group Tuition Policy (GTP) was introduced which radically changed the way tutorials (online and F2F) are planned, organised and delivered. Further to that a new online tutorial technology (Adobe Connect) was adopted in 2017. Additionally, also in 2017, the introductory Level 1 C & IT qualifications introduced radically different presentation patterns, moving to two shorter cohorts per year starting in October and April. The combined effect of all this on Level 1 student success has not yet been adequately researched and little evidence exists as to the relative merits or perceived advantages to students of our currently adopted practice. The OU is currently reviewing its approach to learning and teaching, including tutorial provision, and evidence is urgently needed to inform future decisions. Evidence is needed, for example, on the effect of cluster size on the student experience in online tutorials.

Project Outline: The project will take a two-pronged approach (1) gather qualitative and quantitative survey data from students at start and end of module about their tutorial experiences (2) gather student cluster tutorial attendance and data. This will allow us to investigate the student view of cluster tutorials as well as gathering data about actual attendance at tutorials. The project will be using clusters on TM111 19J to pilot the approach and to check what data is available, with the main focus being on TM111 20D. A further extension to TM111 20J will be considered nearer the time.

Impacts: This work will allow module teams to tailor their tuition strategies such that the tutorial provision both meets the needs of students on a module and also provides an excellent digital experience for those students attending. This may also result in increased attendance at tutorials.