We had a wonderful session at an OU staff development meeting in Cambridge yesterday, discussing ‘Time well spent? Making the most of correspondence tuition’. Follow the links below for a copy of the handout on ‘theory’ and for a summary of our discussions.
I was bowled over by many of the points raised. In particular:
1. We talked about correspondence tuition. Someone said “is this different from just saying ‘tuition’?” Good point.
2. We had a discussion about what we (as tutors) think correspondence tuition is for. But we agreed that students would have a different view. I’m sure that this is indeed the case, but it can’t be as it should be, surely?
3. There was much scepticism about the use of learning outcomes. Students don’t understand them and sometimes tutors don’t either. But we agreed that feedback on generic and key skills is the most useful in ‘feeding forward’ to the next tutor-marked assignment. So perhaps we just need more understanding and transparency (from Module Teams) about what learning outcomes are and which learning outcomes are being assessed – often these will be related to generic and key skills…We need to talk in plain English not learning outcomes mumbo jumbo.
4. Several people expressed an interest in talking to their own students about what sort of feedback they find most useful. Let’s do it!
Thank you for your engagement and enthusiasm. I ought to point out that many OU tutors already follow very good practice in marking and commenting on their students work – and many spend considerably more time on this than they are paid for. But, as discussed, there is always ‘scope for improvement’.