2.13 Skills development
The Open University has a strong commitment to providing appropriate professional development and training to tutors.
All continuing tutors are expected to undertake skills development that covers areas of learning and teaching that are wider than the teaching and conduct of a specific module. Payment for this pedagogical skills development is included within the salary.
A professional development framework has been developed at the OU with the aim of providing quality development to tutors, making it easier for tutors to access resources, to promote clarity about training and development and to facilitate easier observation when undergoing staff review.
This framework is mapped against the tutor job description, roles and contracts, person specification, current and future resources and courses, the UK Professional Standards Framework (AdvanceHE, 2019) and the Higher Education Academy (AdvanceHE, 2018).
The framework contains:
- Becoming a tutor on a module: looking at areas such as: the essential skills you need as a tutor, the OU computing guide, marking assessments online (using the eTMA system), tutoring online and associated tools (such as Adobe Connect), and mechanisms for tutor peer support.
- Developing expertise as a tutor: resources that are available to existing tutors who wish to develop in their core role: Higher Education Academy (HEA) recognition, supporting students with specific needs, correspondence tuition, face-to-face tuition, eTMA training, and using the OU Library.
- Extending beyond core tutor expertise: additional opportunities exist for tutors through TMA monitoring (monitoring the quality of marked scripts), peer mentoring (facilitating cooperation between colleagues, sharing practice and ideas), and non-core tutor roles such as marking exam scripts.
There are also opportunities to develop additional skills whilst working with apprentices and associated employers in the role of practice tutor. Practice tutors have a particular responsibility for practice issues, e.g. for facilitating practice learning meetings in a student's workplace and for monitoring the overall progress of their group of apprentices, whilst working alongside module tutors.