Title: Should support for online students differ from ‘traditional’ support?


Abstract: Universities use a variety of ways to support their students and enhance their student experience. During covid it was often the support outside of traditional teaching sessions which were difficult for many places to replicate. The Open University, has over 50 year experience of teaching and supporting students who learn online and at a distance. In particular the School of Mathematics and Statistics has for many years provided innovative ways of supporting students outside the ‘classroom’ environment was therefore well prepared to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic. This talk will outline some of the forms of support which are offered to students in the School of Mathematics and Statistics  such as online forums to help students with module choice and taster resources including diagnostic quizzes for students to self-assess their readiness to study individual modules and receive targeted support. Since 2017, these resources, and more, have been incorporated into a multi-functional student-facing website. The website enables all units, both academic and non-academic, to provide consistent academic, pastoral and social support to students studying mathematics and statistics modules online.  Analysis will be presented on how both staff and students use the site. A particular focus of this talk will explain how the website mirrors the different stages of a student’s journey, providing a one-stop shop for students to self-serve and obtain appropriate support at each point in their own student lifecycle.

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