3.7 Correspondence tuition

Individual tuition is mainly conducted through assessment and offering feedback on assignments; this is at the core of our teaching and the OU is one of the few universities offering this level of personalised feedback to every student. Tutors mark assignments for students in their group, this is where they help students to develop their academic and professional skills and offer them encouragement.

For each assignment there is a marking guide showing how marks should be allocated for each question and the skills a student needs to demonstrate to gain full marks. Allocating marks is only a small part of this process, the key element is identifying good work and discussing areas where an answer might be improved.

Tutors are given guidance on how to give effective feedback and assignment marking is monitored by other tutors, i.e. a sample is taken for each tutor on each assignment and it is checked by another tutor on the same module. This is where tutors use their professional experience to highlight the important feedback and direct students to the appropriate sections of the module materials or elsewhere to develop their skills.

Assessment is dealt with in more detail in Part 5 Correspondence tuition [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

The other ways in which tutors might be involved in individual tuition include emails and phone calls. Students might contact tutors with queries about the materials or university processes. It is important to let students know when they can call – they might be studying at 03:00 while their tutor might not be at their best – but having a chat is often an easier way to deal with study problems than an exchange of emails.

If a student needs a more structured support session this can be arranged, and the tutor will be paid for their time. A student can request this additional session, or the tutor might recommend it.

3.6.2 Face-to-face tutorials

3.8 Student support