Tutorial booking system

man standing beside counter
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Just over two weeks after the module website opened, I received details about my tutors for TM111 and MU123. Then two days later, on 27 September, the tutorial booking system opened, just over a week before the official start of the module on 5 October.

All the tutorial dates, online and face-to-face, right up until the end of the module are available to book. The tutorial booking system is a straightforward and painless process. There are several links to it from the StudentHome page. You then select the module you want to book tutorials for, and it takes you to a list of tutorials grouped by theme. The first group of tutorials are ones that introduce you to the module. The rest appear to be based around preparing for the major pieces of coursework, the tutor marked assessments or TMAs.

For each group of tutorials, there are a range of times and dates to attend an online tutorial for that series. For the most part, they take place in the evening, though there are one or two during the day. They vary in length but, by and large, it looks like they last between one and two hours. There are certainly more options than I thought there were going to be before the booking system opened.

What I think helps is that you can attend tutorials by other tutors, not just your own, which massively increases the flexibility of the system. Also, some of the tutorials will be recorded. This is handy in case you can’t attend any of the live sessions or you missed a point during one you attended.

I have booked all the online tutorials hosted by my own TM111 and MU123 tutors, but I may attend some by other tutors. Something I learnt from the Early Start programme for MU123 is that each tutor has their own style and covers the topic in their own way. You might find that you prefer how one tutor presents rather than others. For me, I think I will gain something different from each tutor. It would be impossible for them to cover everything within one session.

In theory, you could attend multiple versions of the same online tutorial by different tutors. However, this would take up a lot of your study time that you’ll need to do the work and, of course, you may be working or have other responsibilities. Still, there’s nothing to stop you doing exactly this.

There are also numerous options for face-to-face tutorials. These are usually on a Saturday or, occasionally, on evenings during the week. It looks like they tend to be in large cities, so they may not be an option if you live in a rural area. Luckily, I could potentially attend tutorials in several locations, but a fair proportion of the day would be spent travelling in some cases. So, I’ll pick the closest ones wherever possible. There’s a handy option where the system will tell you how far away the tutorial is, if you put in your postcode.

A further problem I’ve found studying TM111 and MU123 together is that many of the face-to-face tutorials by my tutors are at the same time (and often place). This is a shame but there are alternatives online and, depending upon how far you want to travel, face-to-face too. I tried to weigh up which ones I think I will get the most benefit from depending upon the subject area they cover.

The one thing that the tutors don’t like is if you book on (particularly face-to-face) tutorials and then don’t show up. There is an option to cancel your booking on the system and you can even do this on the day of the tutorial. In fact, you can book on a tutorial at that late stage. It may be that you can just turn up at a tutorial. However, booking helps tutors know how many people are attending and they can let you know what to bring along or about any last-minute changes.

As for my tutors, the Open University (and the TM111 module guide) says they will contact you to introduce themselves shortly before the module starts. However, the MU123 module guide suggests it’s up to you to make first contact with your tutor. Anyway, there’s still a few days to go before the clock starts ticking . . .

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