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To think this is really rubbish from my University Tutor?

(43 Posts)
RiskManagement Sun 17-May-15 09:45:11

I know the whole point is I'm supposed to work independently etc but I've paid a large sum of money for the privilege of having a tutor (among other things).

He hasn't been impressive from the start, very vague and on occasions downright wrong.

The structure of the course is such that there are 5 assignments to write, each in 5 parts. We can submit the first part of each to the tutor for comment then send the final assignment to the assessor. Tutor available for guidance.

Part 2 of my current assignment has me stumped. There a bit that refers to the "5 risks detailed in the unit workbook". The workbook refers to 4 risk categories on one page and on another has a list of more specific risks but there are more than 5.

I asked the tutor to clarify. First he said had I got the right question because he couldn't find my quote. I had and when I pointed it out he said he didn't understand it either and would refer it up. That was a week ago.....

Course is a Level 4 diploma at a "proper" University, but largely done by distance learning. Option to continue and finish a degree.

ARealPipperoo Sun 17-May-15 09:59:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Theycallmemellowjello Sun 17-May-15 10:00:45

He's not responsible for a badly drafted workbook. All he can do is ask the relevant people what's going on - but I don't think he's under an obligation to get to the bottom of it for you.

SirChenjin Sun 17-May-15 10:04:41

Yes, that is poor. I'd send him a chaser email (or better, phone him) and ask for clarification as a matter of urgency. If he still doesn't respond then go above his head.

Far too many Universities are happy to take the money and not so happy to deliver - esp. with distance learning students, ime.

CrohnicallyInflexible Sun 17-May-15 10:05:15

Is it definitely the 5 risks in the workbook? Or could it mean 5 of the risks detailed?

Euphemia Sun 17-May-15 10:05:21

I imagine whoever he's referred it up to has more pressing things to deal with.

Do your best with the material you have, and other sources. Certainly don't sit waiting for an answer.

UpWithPup Sun 17-May-15 10:05:33

I don't think YABU, if the tutor is not responsible for setting a sensible question, then who is?

AlternativeTentacles Sun 17-May-15 10:06:19

I think you need to take that up with the person asking the question.

CrystalHaze Sun 17-May-15 10:10:56

I don't think YABU, if the tutor is not responsible for setting a sensible question, then who is?

I've never known a tutor to be responsible for writing the course materials or setting the assignment questions.

JeanSeberg Sun 17-May-15 10:24:58

This attitude makes me laugh. The op is paying £9k PER ANNUM yet has no right to expect any kind of decent support for that amount? Fuck that, I'd be complaining a lot further up the chain.

DazzleU Sun 17-May-15 10:25:53

I studied with OU - so someone very removed from me wrote the course and set the questions. A bit different to when I was actually attending a uni where the lecturer would also be person setting exam questions.

With OU if I didn't get part of a question - I would be contacting my course tutor for clarification.

with OU they work part time though so would be aware they may need chasing - but in my experience they weren't all as equally good. Why with later courses it was great there were supportive on-line forums so answers from tutors could be shared.

I'd chase up with him - and if your really unhappy look at university complaint procedures or -as I don't know where you are studying - if there is someone higher up you can contact for clarification and try any other contacts on the course especially of they have different tutors.

NiceBitOfCheese Sun 17-May-15 10:30:01

What about the obligation on you to use your initiative, ie make a decision based on the information available, set out your assumptions in the answer and get on with it so that you can complete the assignment by the deadline. A bit like real life really.

I don't think paying £9K - humungous sum of money though it is - entitles you to be spoon fed. You'll get best value out of your hard-earned £9K if you complete the coursework and earn your qualification.

NotDavidTennant Sun 17-May-15 10:34:38

You need to use a bit of pester power here. If your tutor is a typical university lecturer then he will have a hundred and one other demands on his time. I know you feel that you have paid to have use of him as a tutor and therefore dealing with your questions should be a high priority, but from his perspective he has a number of other equally pressing jobs to do, so it's unlikely he's going to go out of his way to chase up the answer to your question if you're not chasing him up to do so.

SirChenjin Sun 17-May-15 10:36:08

The OP isn't expecting to be spoon fed - the lecturer has been "very vague and on occasions downright wrong". Now she is asking for clarification and he couldn't give it because he "didn't understand it either and would refer it up". That was over a week ago and she hasn't heard anything - that's poor performance on behalf the lecturer. Universities can't simply take the money without delivering appropriate level of support to a student who is struggling with a specific piece of coursework.

RiskManagement Sun 17-May-15 10:36:36

Spoon fed? This is the first question I've asked since I started the course in October.

If the hadn't specifically referred to the course materials, I'd have just gone with what I thought but it can't be unreasonable to ask one question about a question that doesn't make any sense.

I know the tutor didn't write the question, but what's he being paid for if it's not to understand and offer guidance on the question?

Euphemia Sun 17-May-15 10:42:43

He's trying to help you, but he can't control the speed of response of the person he's referred it onto.

Email him again, and in the meantime do your best with the material you have.

Marynary Sun 17-May-15 10:46:45

He can't make the person who wrote the course book answer the question. I would e mail him again and see if he has had a reply. Alternatively to you have e mails for anyone else on the course. Perhaps you could ask them how they have interpreted the question.

DazzleU Sun 17-May-15 10:47:57

It's not unreasonable to ask for clarification about a question - and if it was ie OP was supposed to make a judgement he could have said that in reply.

I'd chase - as it may be only part of his duties and his tutor roles is low priority to him or being squeezed out not ideal but could be happening - and quickest was to get the help wanted.

It possibly wouldn't hurt to look around and maybe ask someone higher up if you can change tutors for rest of the course or get them to talk to this tutor and make sure he is offering the support he's meant to. Though that could depend on how the institution views the role I suppose - as you can find pt and master courses in some traditional universities are somehow very low priority in some department even though they bring in cash.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 17-May-15 10:48:58


"I've never known a tutor to be responsible for writing the course materials or setting the assignment questions."

I've never known a teacher be responsible for writing or setting questions either yet they are held responsible, why should lecturers be any different?

RiskManagement Sun 17-May-15 10:50:03

So is it unreasonable to think he should have read an understood the question at some point before I started working on it?

DazzleU Sun 17-May-15 10:50:29

Actually e-mailing him again means you check he's remembered to ask person who set the course in first place ( not a given) and if not to chase them - or ask other people in department who might have clarification.

SirChenjin Sun 17-May-15 10:52:54

No, it's not at all unreasonable to expect him to have an understanding of the question before setting it for his students.

He sounds like he's happy to take the money but not actually do much in return. We've all had poor lecturers and excellent ones - sounds like he's in the former camp. Can you change tutors?

DazzleU Sun 17-May-15 10:54:52

My OU tutors would have - they may have also given tutorials about subject and may in some case be marking the work- though not always depends on course and which piece of work it was.

Really depends on the role is defined at this institute - perhaps he's only a contact person when things aren't clear ?

Though once a question been asked - I don't think it's at all unreasonable to expect a reply in a reasonable time frame.

Theycallmemellowjello Sun 17-May-15 11:08:03

It sounds like it would be quicker for you to email the course director or something - this is presumably what the tutor has done. Or email the tutor again to find out who the right person to contact might be and then get to the bottom of it yourself. what do your peers say? this kind of situation is an example of why it can be a good idea to have a cohort facebook group so you can pool knowledge about this kind of question.

littlerach Sun 17-May-15 11:09:35

My experience of OU is that soetimes you do have to chase them a bit.
Do you have a module/tutor group forum where you can post the qauestion? Or an active FB group for the module?
These have been vital in my studying with OU smile

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