An Open Entry Distance Learning Institution With Over 173000 Students

1885 WordsJan 10, 20178 Pages
1 CONTEXT The Open University UK (OU), is an open entry distance learning institution with over 173,000 students [1]. There are no entry requirements for students wishing to study with the OU leading to a high level of diversity amongst the student cohort in terms of prior experience and qualifications. The majority of students have taken a break from formal education before joining the OU and it is frequently their first experience of distance education. Approximately 21,000 OU students have declared a disability and many of those receive additional support to help them with their studies. The OU model of distance learning is to provide student with pre-prepared module materials which may be in print or electronic format, supplemented…show more content…
That work informed much of the academic development around assessment feedback within the OU, particularly in the Maths, Computing and Technology faculty, where she was based. In interviews with students, Walker found the top two most common responses students had to comments were; they didn’t understand the comment or needed further explanation or more positively that the comment was useful for future work. This was in line with the findings of other studies around the student experience of feedback which reported students find it lacking specificity [?Higgins], difficult to understand [?Chanock] and confidence reducing [?James]. This suggests that whilst there is much feedback being offered to students by their tutors, frequently the comments provided are not being understood or do not comply with the Ramaprasad definition that feedback should bridge the gap. In the intervening years since Walker’s research, the OU have encouraged Associate Lecturers to develop their feedback style to include more explanations and examples, pointing out that their efforts in providing feedback are wasted if the student does not understand them or is unable to act upon them. If the purpose of feedback is to bridge the gap between attainment and target achievement then it might be expected that more feedback would be given where there is a bigger gap to bridge. Thus, it might be expected that the volume and or type of comments provided to students might differ

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