Being an OU student
Being an OU student

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Being an OU student

3.2 Online tutorials

Online tutorials will take place in our online rooms, using software called Adobe Connect. You can think of these as virtual meeting rooms, where you can talk (by voice or text) to other students and tutors, and see material shared by the tutor, have a go at online polls, contribute your thoughts and ideas in discussions and sometimes work in small groups with other students.

The functions in Adobe Connect and the way you’ll book onto tutorials will be the same for each module.

Many modules will record tutorials just in case you’re unable to attend any of the options, or if you want to revisit them later to help refresh your memory or when you are revising. You’ll find information on your module website about how to access these recordings.

It’s always better to attend tutorials live if you possibly can. You learn most when you’re actively engaging with what’s going on – and that is much easier to do when there are other students and your tutor in there with you at the same time. Being able to ask questions and join in makes a lot of difference!

If you’re only able to use a recording, then you can still try to ‘join in’ as far as possible – when the students in the tutorial are asked to answer a question, have a go at it too (try pausing it while you think). Likewise, if there’s a discussion, have a think what your view would be before reading or listening to what other people have said. If there’s a presentation, think what questions you might like to ask, and get in touch with your tutor to ask them if they’re not covered in the recording.

In the following video, two students talk about what it’s like to take part in an online tutorial.

Download this video clip.Video player: bous_1_s4_onlinetutorials.mp4
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I thought it'd be nice to meet other students, because it's a bit solitary just working on your own. And because I hadn't done any university-level study before, I just felt that it might help with the studies, because at the beginning of the module, I was quite sure that I'd need as much help as I could get.
For me, I thought face-to-face tutorials were absolutely invaluable. They gave you a chance to exchange ideas, comments on authors, poets, and that sort of thing, 'cause I was doing English literature. So that whole exchange of ideas which you were able to have in a face-to-face environment was really great.
It really helped me. It was nice to meet the tutor to put a face to the name.
And the opportunity to meet your tutor face to face, that in itself is worth doing, because when you start to communicate with them online, as you do a lot of the time, you get a sense of who they are. They know you. And you can just have a better experience.
I was quite nervous, which is strange, really, because I do a lot of travelling alone. I was a little bit nervous that I wouldn't be able to find the place. I was nervous that I wouldn't get there on time, because I was relying on public transport to get me there.
You worry you're going to say something and look like an idiot, and people are going to think, well, that's a bit of an odd thing to say. And you may be a bit reticent at first.
I think mostly I was a little bit nervous because I was expecting that all of the other students at the tutorial would be really clever and I would not be up to their kind of standard. And that's probably because it's been such a long time since I did any formal studying.
But most of the tutors are very, very good at drawing people out, making you feel at ease.
But actually, when I got there, it was really good. I really enjoyed it. And it really gave me a massive boost. When I got back from that one, I got all my books out and started doing some stuff that day. And I hadn't actually planned to do that. But it really gave me inspiration to crack on and get done what I'd learned during the day before I forgot it all.
This is one of the very best ways you're going to get the most out of your course.
It made me feel confident that I wasn't the only person sort of worrying at the beginning of the module whether I was going to be able to get through to the end of it or not. It was nice to be able to sort of share that experience with fellow students.
And because the OU people are coming with so many different life experiences and backgrounds, it's where you hear about these things. So I couldn't recommend them highly enough, really.
It gives you a boost. It makes you feel that you're progressing and that you're actually getting to where you need to be.
I think if you don't go to a face-to-face tutorial, you really are missing out.
It encourages you. It gives you inspiration. It makes you feel really good about yourself. It's really nice to mix with the other students. So just bite the bullet, and just go for it. And once you've been to one and you've enjoyed it, you won't feel nervous about going to another one. So it's well worth it.
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You can start to get familiar with Adobe Connect in the next activity.

Activity 1 Using Adobe Connect

Allow about 10 minutes

While Adobe Connect is fairly intuitive, it’s useful to be familiar with it before your first tutorial.

You may find that there are demonstration tutorials at the start of your first module, so look out for these, but for now take a look at the Computing Guide [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Once you’re in the Computing Guide you’ll see a heading part way down the page called ‘Tutorials (Online rooms)’ and under this there is a link to the guidance for using Adobe Connect.

Described image
Figure 5 Online tutorials

Take a look at the links under ‘User information’ (the information for hosts is for your tutor). You might want to save a link to this page in case you do have any problems using Adobe Connect.

Described image
Figure 6 Adobe Connect guidance

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