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Open University – discussion

April 28, 2007

Just a quick note to remind myself of a conversation I had recently with a lecturer with the Open University.

  • The Lecturer’s main methods of communication with students were posting assignments (electronically?), e-mail and telephone conversations for discussion, and receiving assignments (electronically?).
    – note to self – what about video conferencing of some kind?
  • The Lecturer didn’t find these methods of communication a problem when teaching students because they were well aware of the type of learning they were entering into when signing up for the course. (e.g. none of the students were unhappy with the way they communicated or were looking for other ways of doing so)
    -i.e. when asked if ‘she’ was being encouraged by her institution to look at other modes of delivery/learning (i.e. more flexible!), she was not. The institution was clear about what it offered, and how.
    This made me reflect on what our institution is trying to do – we are trying to offer our current methods for teaching and learning, and widen these to offer other methods to attract a bigger market. Is there a way to see our education community as wider (than just us) where some institutions over distance learning, and some offer a f2f environment? Seems like we are trying to do it all – will this in turn force the Open University to address how they deliver their student’s learning? Is there a danger that we forget or lose some of our current methods of teaching – i.e. unless we increase teaching/staffing, can we do more? or are we swapping older methods for new (more appropriate) in order to accommodate it in our current state?
    And importantly – how will we market ourselves to future students to ensure that they know what to expect from us? – this reminds me of previous conversations about (some) students needing boundaries set by us – not endless options. Many are young learners and don’t yet know what type of learner they are and how best to approach their own workload.

-just ruminating!

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