The induction day today reminded me all over again why I like the Open University so much (and that’s before we even got to the amazing – free! – lunch, which to be fair they did tell us not to get used to!). Sitting in a room full of interesting, motivated people (who were in the same boat as me, and all seemed equally daunted by it, but equally up for it too), supportive staff, supportive staff, did I say the staff are really supportive? The OU consistently comes in the top 2 or 3 in the national student survey for student satisfaction, in Scotland and (I think) in the UK as a whole, and I think it’s going to be a joy to work for them. Hooray! Now I just have to find the time to get though the absolute mountain of teaching materials and get my head round the tutoring forums etc.
I was interested to hear lots of people worrying about interacting online, and how different that would be from face-to-face. I had done a bit of that as a student already, for my final MSc module (which feels like a lifetime ago, though it was actually just 5 years), and of course I’ve had the occasional practice at online interaction (can’t think where 😉 ), so for me that feels like the least of my worries. The most of my worries is in finding the time to get through the course materials and have enough of a handle on it that I can best help my students. I have had a brainwave, which if I were God would make life so much easier to handle, but as I’m not will have to muddle on regardless. Basically I think that if time could be captured on an external hard drive (or whatever the time/life/existence equivalent to a computer would be) then I could do my thesis and day job* as normal, and have the extra OU time running concurrently but not get overburdened or go over-capacity. I’m not sure I’ve explained that very well, but it makes perfect sense to me. I expect the techies will be along soon enough to point out the flaws.
And as for the food – mmmmmmmmm. A sit down delicious buffet, we all felt like we were at a wedding reception (and in fact the venue was quite posh and there was a wedding reception going on down the corridor). With proper cloth napkins and everything! Makes a change from the curled up sandwiches and custard cream you usually get at these things.
* whenever that happens – no news yet.