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Student shadows praise their day out in the Faculty

The University’s informal student shadowing initiative saw Spanish internal auditor German Yanez and aspiring journalist Ana Chowdry recently spend the day with academic Dr Terry O’Sullivan.

The pair first accompanied Terry who was chairing a B206 module production team meeting with a working title of ‘Understanding Customers’ and part of the marketing pathway' in the BA (Hons) Business Management degree. They later took part in a workshop during the Research Development Day organised by the Centre for Knowledge in Organisations and Professions (CKOP).

Terry, Senior Lecturer in Management, said: “The day worked out really well, exposing German and Ana to both teaching and research as part of an academic’s job. They had some great ideas to share, and were excellent company throughout the day. Many thanks to all my colleagues for making German and Ana so welcome, and to Student Engagement Project Manager Janette Campbell-Wood for finding us such super shadowers.”

German, who now lives in Glasgow, has been studying part-time with the OU for the last three years and is currently undertaking W202 (Contract law and tort law) and B123 (Management practice).

The OU is a busy organisation preparing modules, receiving feedback, and developing and improving those modules already available to ensure students have a better overall experience. I enjoyed taking part in the meeting for developing a new module, providing feedback from a student’s view on what we believe will be a better study experience. I think student participation is extremely important and helpful for both the University and students as it leads to increased student satisfaction and teaching excellence.

In the afternoon, we met some research students, lecturers and external professionals at a workshop in the Library. The research from which we benefit as students is thanks to the networking of staff with other experts and professionals from outside the University.

Student shadowing seems to go to the core of module development and the student experience. I’m confident that more student shadowing, especially if it involves workshops, would provide direct feedback and so help with student engagement and the student experience. I’m sure it would spark that curiosity we all have inside us to take our studies further.

German Yanez, Student

Ana Chowdry lives locally in Bedfordshire. The 26-year-old is waiting to graduate for an Open degree (in language and science) which took four years to complete.

My day was even better than I expected and I’d like to thank Terry and the team for their warm hospitality. It was a worthwhile experience which I would recommend to everybody.

Terry had warned that we could be bored during the module meeting but it was no ordinary meeting as there were a lot of ideas being bounced around and opinions shared. The module team seemed very dedicated and it was enlightening to see that concern about students’ workload was integral to planning a module. I’m really looking forward to the module’s first presentation which I’m sure will be absolutely amazing. The afternoon workshop was also a busy environment with the academics engaging us in good conversation.

Ana Chowdry, Student

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