Exploring different styles of online tuition to enhance student experience

Haresnape, Janet; Wallace, Janette and Moorman, Fiona (2022). Exploring different styles of online tuition to enhance student experience. In: Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference Making Connections, Innovating and Sharing Pedagogy, 29-30 Jun 2022, London, p. 76.

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Evidence from educational research projects and internal quality control processes indicated that students who attend online tutorials are reluctant to fully participate (Butler et al, 2018). Online tuition can often result in a didactic, transmissive style of teaching, which can leave students passive and disengaged. This was a concern at our institution because active engagement has been shown to support deeper learning (Rüschoff and Ritter, 2001; Herrmann, 2014) and meaningful interaction is associated with student satisfaction (Kuo et al, 2014). Furthermore, the importance of online tuition and its additional role in helping students feel part of an academic community of learners became more crucial since the start of the Covid pandemic when all tuition moved online.

The focus of this work was to develop and explore different styles of online tutorials in an attempt to increase student engagement and participation, and to appeal to a more diverse cross-section of students. The alternative models of tuition included informal drop-in sessions, module wide workshops and enrichment Q & A tutorials; these were trialled across all levels of the undergraduate programme within the school of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences at the Open University. Following a preliminary review of attendance data and informal feedback from participating students and tutors, several of these alternative tuition events have subsequently been embedded into our regular online offering to students and we are intending to undertake a comprehensive survey of participating students and tutors over the next couple of years.

During the workshop we will describe several different tuition styles and share the experiences of lecturers who facilitated, and students who attended, these alternative tuition events. Delegates will be invited to discuss potential pedagogical benefits associated with these alternative tuition styles and to share their experiences of providing a variety of models of online tuition.

We hope that this discursive workshop will facilitate reflection and a refresh of online tuition strategies within the HEI context.

Butler, D. Cook, L and Haley-Mirnar, V. (2018) Achieving student-centred facilitation in online synchronous tutorials, eSTeEM Final report.

Herrmann, K.J. (2014) Learning from tutorials: a qualitative study of approaches to learning and perceptions of tutorial interaction. Higher Education, Vol. 68, No. 4 pp. 591-606

Kuo, Y., Walker, A. E., Belland, B. R., & Schroder, K. E. E. (2014). A predictive study of student satisfaction in online education programs. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(1), 16-39.

Rüschoff, Bernd, and Markus Ritter. Technology-enhanced language learning: Construction of knowledge and template-based learning in the foreign language classroom. Computer assisted language learning 14.3-4 (2001): 219-232.

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