At the February meeting of the Distance Learning Forum it was agreed that we should explore the possibility of running another peer observation programme for distance learning tutors and programme managers this year. Waikato University in New Zealand have signalled that they have staff who are keen to participate in this year’s programme and work with us once again. (See here for the blog post on last year’s joint programme with Waikato).
Participants from last year’s programme found that being paired up with an external tutor can bring fresh perspectives on tutoring practice and new insights on online course design and technologies to engage students in their learning. For a personal reflection on how the cross-institutional peer exchange worked, please listen to the short recorded talk that John Gray (Centre for Applied Human Rights and York Law School) gave to our Distance Learning Forum last summer on his collaboration with Dr Dianne Forbes from the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato.
For some participants, it can represent a less daunting experience than working with a colleague from your own programme team or university who is already familiar with what you do. You will of course be invited to request the match that works best for you, determining whether you want to work with someone from a specific institution (York or Waikato), discipline, or tutoring background, and whether you want to just observe someone’s practice, rather than be observed too in a reciprocal arrangement. The programme is entirely flexible and it’s up to you to decide how much time you can devote to the peer exchange.
If you are interested in taking part this year, please could you get in touch with Richard Walker, Head of E-Learning Development (firstname.lastname@example.org; x1138) by Monday 21st March. It would also be extremely helpful if you could publicise this opportunity to colleagues – anyone really with a significant tutoring or programme management responsibility for online learning who might be interested in taking part.
Please do drop Richard a line if you have any questions about the programme. Please consult the Distance Learning peer observation programme web page includes further information on what’s involved, including details on timescales and responsibilities.