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  5. Day time tutorials for apprentices – what is best practice in computing?

Day time tutorials for apprentices – what is best practice in computing?

Project leader(s): 
Chris Thomson and Marina Carter

We know more about our apprentice students on the computing degree apprenticeship programmes (Digital Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship England, IT: Software Development/Cyber Security Graduate Apprenticeship Scotland, Digital Degree Apprenticeship Wales) than our regular students. Uniquely for the Open University we know these students are all in full-time work, and that they have been provided time during their work hours to study (20%). Some of these students have strongly voiced the opinion that tutorials should be provided during their work hours via feedback to their module and practice tutors. However, it is far from clear how this relates to the majority of the students. Our focus in this project is to investigate the provision of tutorials for apprenticeships in computing with the potential to generalise this to other programmes.

We have conducted an early stage pilot study on TMXY130J where we provided 16% of tutorials (1 of every topic) during work hours with the same tutor, with that tutor also providing a tutorial repeated identically in the evening of the same day (see appendix 2, the project report). The initial findings were that work-day daytime tutorials were significantly better attended, however questions remain about how effective these tutorials are – for example if apprentices are in a busy office can they concentrate and join in effectively?

We plan to further investigate these results by surveying and interviewing apprentices to gather their reasons for selecting tutorials and their ability to participate in them. We will use this to inform tutorial provision for modules in 20J, advice apprentices, and develop a further evaluative process of those proposals. We will also feedback advice to the other apprenticeship programmes in FBL and WELS who are yet to investigate weekday daytime tutorials.

Chris Thomson and Marina Carter poster (PDF)