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What drives student participation in online tutorials?

Hayley-Mirnar, Vikki; Halliwell, Catherine and Robson, Julie (2017). What drives student participation in online tutorials? In: HEA STEM Conference 2017, 1-2 Feb 2017, Manchester Conference Centre.

URL: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/download/session-56-wh...
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Abstract

Following the introduction of online only modules in the STEM faculty at the Open University, we wanted to canvass tutor perceptions of this new style of delivery of modules, and assess the impact this has had on their support of students. Tutors on 5 modules across science disciplines were asked to complete a questionnaire addressing various aspects of their tuition and their perceptions of how students were engaging with the online only material.
In this session we will share the findings of our research project, highlighting some of the key themes identified and reflecting on the variability of some of the findings based on the module and previous experience of online tuition by the tutors.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Extra Information: Outline:
Following the recent introduction of online only modules in STEM, we wanted to canvass tutor perceptions of this new style of delivery of OU modules, and assess the impact this has had on their support of students throughout the module. Tutors (n=34) on 5 modules across biological, chemistry, physical and earth science disciplines were asked to complete a questionnaire addressing;

• Their confidence in supporting students on an online only module Whether there was adequate staff development to prepare them for online only tuition
• Any changes made in their delivery style and their student support
• If there have been changes in their marking of assignments or exam/revision support
• How they have engaged with the module materials, such as format and interactive activities
• Advantages and disadvantages of online only modules
• Students awareness and readiness for online only delivery
• Their ability to support the development of study skills online, e.g., note-taking
• The impact of online only modules on students with disabilities and dyslexia
• The impact on tutorial attendance, e.g., via OU live

There were some recurrent themes across the modules. For example, the majority of tutors found studying the material online was easy, however, the duration of time spent on the computer for both tutors and students was considered a disadvantage. Most tutors felt that their students weren’t fully engaging with the interactive components of the modules, primarily due to time constraints. Another disadvantage was the inability to bookmark material easily and assimilate information when scribbling hand-written notes. Some results indicated a varied impact on the tutors, dependent on their previous experience with online tuition and the module itself. The interactive nature of the module and flexibility to study on the move were thought to be particular advantages of an online only module. Tutors on some modules felt there had been a greater change in the way they supported their students, and this may be due to the design of the modules themselves. Furthermore, 89% of the tutors felt the change to online only modules had had a greater impact on students with additional requirements. However, this was often positive as students could modify the font size, screen size etc., which was particularly beneficial for students with visual impairment and dyslexia.
Keywords: Online; Tuition; Interactive components; Disabilities; Student support; Note-taking
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: eSTEeM
Item ID: 53795
Depositing User: Julie Robson
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2018 11:23
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 11:03
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/53795
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