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The value of the OULive Session


With six OU modules under my belt, five MA ODE and one MBA module and a year working at the OU Business School my personal and in-house experience of these live tutor moderate sessions convinces me that, for all their foibles Elluminate before and OU Live now are vital tools – they can give you some of that residential school/tutorial feel but CRUCIALLY they are an often well needed injection of ‘humanity’ if I can put it that way: humour, friendship, sharing and even team building and committment. My very best experiences of the MA ODE have been during and after such sessions – I wonder therefore if I go back through this OU student blog I can identify a ‘bounce in my tone’ coming out of them. There may be stats that if nothing else coming into and leaving a Live session increases activity and improves motivation – even works in favour of commitment and seeing it through?

Sometimes the appeal of the Elluminate sessions was so great that we’d meet up in Google Hangouts too afterwards to keep it going … the most memorable, and ‘clean, open and honest’ in an OU student way, was the ‘pyjama party’ we had. A laugh and worthy as a ‘memory making’ experience – and this with people across several time zones. We clearly had amongst us something of a hyper-gregarious ‘party girl’ (not a sexist term I trust, would ‘party person’ be better? Anyway, it isn’t gender specific, more the outgoing, gregarious, organising, doing person).

So yes, a crucial ingredient that personally I feel should be right at the start of any module. Hear a person laugh or sneeze, get a sense of who we all are and buy into that natural inclination amongst us to want to learn together, help each other out and feel we belong to a thing.

To add to my experience of this I will keep signing up to things so it is about time I wrote this up … doing a traditional, on campus MA is an extraordinary contrast. I really feel that it had might as well be the 1960s: long reading lists, back to back lectures (I fall asleep in the afternoon) and picking an essay title every couple of months for assessment … but you chat over coffee and share a sandwich in the canteen and slowly form a bond, even if it’s as if we are fellow galley slaves and to graduate will require two years of rowing! And come to think of it, one of the impromptu ‘hang outs’ we did in an MA ODE module included food and drink …

What I miss was getting to know six or seven people as people – not the 2dimensional ‘Gravatar’ and biog, but, as it can slip out, a person doing ‘person’ things even as simple as ducking out to answer the door or put on the kettle. Though odd if you think of them as a formal learning gathering where in one case a fellow student always brought a plate of food to the session and the other tended to be in bed – once, LOL, with her grumbling husband at her side trying to read a book! People eh!?

This is the point, to a degree, the door just open a chink, you see a little bit into the lives of your fellow students.

And do we learn something? I don’t remember, but is the learning the LEAST important reason for doing these things?

Fascinating, but possibly a couple of years since I did one.

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