All of the people with whom I’ve interacted on this journey, both in my first module and on the way to getting there, have been genuine, helpful, and friendly people. Nowhere is this more true than my tutor group. Which is a shame, since I can’t find a way to make fun of them.
A couple of weeks before the module started, I logged into my preferred Facebook discussion group (meaning the only one where anybody ever actually talked). The group had practically exploded with a bizarre new game. Someone would post a full name and title, like Mr. Edward Nitworth or Dr. Candace Merryweather, and other people would either whole-heartedly agree with said name (“Me too!” or “Yup!”) or completely ignore the thread, and find a different random name with which to agree. The agreements were occasionally supplemented with a town name.
After about ten minutes of confusion and trying to decide if I was enough of a follower to just post name at random to see what would happen, I finally saw the word ‘Tutor’. Ah! We’d been assigned tutors, and people were finding their fellow tutees.
I was pleasantly surprised when I checked my tutor’s name on the module website and then checked back on the FB group. Most of the half-dozen or so fellow students with my tutor were fairly well known to me, and on par with my activity level pre-module. I’d hoped that this activity level would continue through to our tutor group.
That … That hasn’t happened. At all. I have dreams of another tutor group where the students crowd-source help from the other students, and clarity is offered by the tutor as necessary. Of information from one source not being contradicted twice by the same source. Of a forum that feels in some way more like a virtual learning environment than a virtual bank lobby.
Sadly, that tutor group is not mine. If I had to, I’d guess that mythical tutor group was in Scotland. Those guys seem to be having a blast. And free wall planners.
It’s actually not bad, as I prefer getting my head down and getting on with it. It’s just much more isolation than was implied in the brochures. Certainly I think others will have difficulty engaging as a result. As an example, only three students aside from me have started any threads in our forum. Only one other student and I have started more than one thread. Something certainly seems to be missing. Any hopes that things would pick up after the face-to-face tutorial have gone unrealised.
I worry a bit about the students who are not engaging. I try to read all of the blogs of students on this presentation (I’m following 24 of them), and a lot of them are struggling with little things. For many, it’s concepts of binary or base maths. For others, it’s something much more basic, like where to even begin the TMA. Everybody struggled a bit starting with those concepts, so we can all help by talking about what helped us. But nobody’s asking. All I can do is keep trying to engage, and see who follows suit. It’s going a bit better on the Facebook forums, at least.
It does remind me of something I saw someone say on The Student Room, though saber if I can find it again. It was that the Open University was specifically designed so that anybody can start a degree, but that doesn’t mean everybody will finish it. That just seems such a shame, because I think it’s attainable for everyone.