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. The programme supports the professional development of online tutors and their skills development, with participants owning the observation process and outcomes.
The programme has been delivered five times since the initial trial in academic year 2010-11, and in 2014-2015 and 2016 was delivered in partnership with distance learning tutors from the University of Waikato, New Zealand.
Waikato University have signalled that they have staff who are keen to work with us once again to exchange practice on digital teaching and learning methods. (See here for the blog post on the 2015 and 2016 joint programmes with Waikato).
Participants from the joint exchange programmes 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 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.
Please do consider getting involved in this year’s programme. You are 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. The timing of the exchange can also be tailored to suit your availability, with one of four possible time slots available to you:
- March – June (coinciding with Waikato Semester A)
- June – July (Waikato semester break)
- August – October (coinciding with Waikato Semester B)
- End of year – (looking back at a module/programme, with a view to development for 2018)
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 Wednesday 7th 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 for further information on what’s involved, including details on timescales and responsibilities.