Wednesday, 23 June 2010

OU teaching awards

I've just attended the Open University Teaching Awards ceremony, where they award the nominated best tutors (associate lecturers) and others of this year. Its atmosphere is as good as at a degree ceremony, but more intimate as there were only around a score of awards. We have around 8000 tutors.

The vice chancellor, Martin Bean, was cheerfully presenting the awards, announced by Josie Taylor, professor of learning technologies. He always looks round to see who's in the audience, and welcomed one of the deans, Chris Earl, from the maths, computing and technology faculty, but our OUBS dean wasn't there. I think the VC is trying to encourage the deans to attend such events.

One incident amused us. Two FELS tutors came on the stage. Now FELS is the faculty that deals with foreign languages, so you can understand that it would have tutors in Europe, and that languages are taught using Elluminate and other e-learning technologies. One of these tutors took the opportunity to speak to the audience, explaining that this was the first time she'd met her colleagues face-to-face, despite working together since 2004, and could someone in the higher echelons please arrange for the ALs to get together more often.

Higher echelons! She's standing right next to the top echelon of the university ladder.

Martin Bean looked right, left, up, down and behind the curtain. (See him on Berrill Stadium if you're internal staff). At this point, Josie Taylor gently ushered the tutor off the stage, commenting,
"If you don't ask, you don't get!"
Yet, a few moments later, another tutor arrives on stage for her award, and also announces she wants to say something. She's a science tutor, and explains that in her faculty the ALs do get to meet, in fact had met only a couple of weeks ago, and that the FELS ALS need to ask for such a meeting and Martin Bean takes this chance to add,
"Ask your dean."

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