The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
Access to slides in advance of online tutorials is thought to benefit many students with disabilities, e.g., those with sight and hearing impairments, some specific learning disabilities including dyslexia, and some mental health conditions including anxiety. Some students have the practice included as a reasonable adjustment in their disability profile. Another group of students who may benefit are those with English as an additional language. Ideas around universal design (e.g. Burgstahler and Cory, 2008) would imply that it is worth making slides available in advance of events to all students, not least because several will have undeclared additional needs. However, there is push back from some Associate Lecturers who feel that making content available in advance will create more work for them and that students might not attend events if they already know what will be covered. Others may be put off attending if they can see that interactive group activities and/or calculations are involved in the tutorial.
Current practice in this area is varied, with some modules in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences (EEES) expecting tutorial slides to be available to all students a few days before tutorial events, some encouraging the practice but without a formal process in place and others having no specific policy.
This project will review current practice of tutors and students on one EEES module at each of levels 1 (S112), 2 (S(XF)206) and 3 (SDT306). This will be done by reviewing i) module guidance on slide sharing, ii) how wide is the practice of sharing slides in advance iii) is this via cluster, national and/or Tutor Group forums iv) how far in advance are slides shared. This will be followed by surveys of students and tutors on their practice in sharing (tutors) and accessing (student) slides, together with their perceptions of the benefits and barriers of sharing online tutorial slides in advance.
Anticipated outcomes include quantitative data on slide sharing practice by tutors and access by students, quantitative perceived value data and qualitative data on perceived benefits and barriers plus contributions to ongoing wider discussions around the practice including producing guidelines on best practice and timings.
Burgstahler, S. and Cory R.C. (eds.), (2008) Universal design in higher education: from principles to practice, Cambridge MA, Harvard Education Press.