6.6 Looking further ahead

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As tutors progress in their role and gain expertise there are frequently other opportunities to develop new skills and knowledge.

For example, tutors may be asked to mentor a colleague or undertake some quality assurance work such as monitoring the correspondence tuition of fellow tutors, marking students’ examination scripts or to support their staff tutor in planning developmental activities for others. All these activities contribute to tutors’ growing understand of open and distance teaching.

In addition to taking on a broader range of tasks many OU tutors after a few years in the role, seek external accreditation for their work. One, guaranteed way of developing as a tutor is by becoming a student. All OU tutors are entitled to study modules at no cost and this experience of the OU from the ‘other side’ is certainly one of the most valuable professional development activities a tutor can undertake!

Recognition for development as a teacher in Higher Education

The Open University encourages all its tutors to gain professional accreditation for their work in higher education and runs a highly supportive scheme called Applaud, based on the UK HE Professional Standards Framework.

This is recognised by Advance HE [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , a government body which accredits staff who work within the Higher Education sector. Accreditation is gained by making a personal submission in which candidates demonstrate their understanding of a UK HE Professional Standards Framework and show how it relates to the OU tutor role. A successful submission results in accreditation as an associate fellow or fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA or FHEA) - this is a recognised, HE sector-wide qualification.

Many tutors, even those without previous teaching experience, gain this qualification through their OU work.

Activity 6

As a result of studying this course so far, how likely are you to consider teaching with the Open University?

Reflect briefly on why you may be interested in teaching with the OU, what do you feel you might gain from the experience and what do you feel you have to offer?

Write a short post to the discussion forum which explains your views. Read and comment on other forum contributors’ postings, particularly where there are common or radically different views or emerging ideas.

6.5 Getting started as a dual professional