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Developing Personal Repositories to Support the Development of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project Roger Dence, University of Leicester and Anne Hewling, The Open University “Pushing the Boundaries” Beyond Distance Research Alliance Conference

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Developing Personal Repositories to Support the Development of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

Roger Dence, University of Leicester

and Anne Hewling, The Open University

“Pushing the Boundaries”

Beyond Distance Research Alliance Conference

Leicester, 10th January 2006

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Scope
Scope of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

  • Profiling the JISC-funded PROWE project –

    • Personal Repositories Online: Wiki Environment

  • Outlining the research approach

  • Tutor communities of practice (CoPs) in context

  • Identifying barriers to adoption and enabling factors

  • Further research and development issues

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Project profile
Project Profile of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

  • A JISC-funded digital repositories project

  • Led by OU (Library, Institute of Educational Technology), with UoL (Beyond Distance Research Alliance)

  • Investigating use of wikis / blogs as informal repositories

  • Aimed at part-time tutors on distance education programmes

  • Focus on potential for sharing and storing resources to meet professional development needs

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Institutional context
Institutional Context of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

  • Associates in several faculties < ~ 100, mostly in UK

  • Mainly distance-learning tutors, but some on full and part time courses

  • Diverse terms and conditions of engagement

  • Limited, ad hoc access to staff development activities

  • Mostly own email services; a few [email protected]

  • Blackboard VLE deployed April 2005 - now ~1000 sites, but used by few tutors

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Quotes
Quotes of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

“There is little sharing at the moment. Staff may do something on an ad hoc basis between close associates.”

“With uncertain objectives and benefits, a light touch is needed. A simple interface is a vital necessity, otherwise barriers will be created.”

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Some enabling factors
Some Enabling Factors of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

  • Technology use needs to be intuitive

  • Must have clear benefits for associate tutors re meeting interests and opportunity cost of time

  • Needs current and relevant material in repository

  • Meeting specific needs / opportunities

  • Encouragement needed – difficult to mandate

  • Identifying advocates and champions

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Institutional context ou
Institutional Context - OU of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

  • More than 7000 tutors with diverse backgrounds

  • Around 180 000 students with diverse backgrounds

  • All dispersed around UK, Europe and elsewhere

  • Highly-structured learning / teaching / working environment

  • Distance-only institution

  • Moving towards Moodle in 2007

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Activity timeline
Activity Timeline of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

  • Focus groups and survey

  • Appraisal of options

  • Technical specification

  • Small trial for volunteers

  • Reappraisal

  • Larger trial – open group (s)

  • Evaluation and ‘toolkit’ with demonstrator

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Progress to date ou
Progress to Date – OU … of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

User aspirations:

  • Integration

  • Ease of use

  • Control

  • Themes and pointers

  • Multi-media capture and storage

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Continued
… continued of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

Project developers’ aspirations:

  • Possibility for widespread integration

  • Web hosted not server bound

  • Transferable

  • Largely self-moderating

  • Light touch infrastructure

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Some initial issues arising
Some Initial Issues Arising of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

  • Encouraging the routine sharing of resources for altruistic reasons and social ideals

  • Acknowledging the context of successful CoPs, ie being self forming, self managing and self sustaining

  • Facilitating professional and personal development in pedagogy, as well as in subject / discipline areas

  • Recognising and rewarding contributions

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


Thank you for your interest and attention! of Part-Time Tutor Communities – a First View of the PROWE Project

Anne Hewling, The Open University

email: [email protected]

Roger Dence, University of Leicester

email: [email protected]

http://www.prowe.ac.uk


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