VSNS-PPS Learning contract
We find the idea of a 'contract' between the consultants
and the students useful, since both benefit from knowing
what they can reasonably expect from the others. This is
the first learning contract that we have been involved with
so treat it as a prototype. If you have comments, please
add them at the bottom.
What the course can (cannot) expect from consultants
- Consultants will treat the course as a very important
enterprise and commit themselves as far as possible to
making it a great success.
- Consultants will use 'best endeavour' to contribute
material on an agreed timescale, and give early warning
if it becomes clear this is impossible.
- Consultants will use 'best endeavour' to be present at
electronic discussion sessions and to give notice where this
is impossible. They may ask a colleague to replace them if
- Consultants will make every effort to be polite and helpful,
remembering how little they know about other disciplines. They
will treat with especial sympathy those whose first language is
not English, or who are otherwise disadvantaged in the course.
- Consultants will, of course, make it clear when they disagree
with something, including course material (!), but they will
do it in a constructive manner and take every effort to avoid
- Consultants will answer e-mail conscientiously, but you
should realise that they have many commitments, including travel,
and that you cannot always expect an immediate answer. In some
cases a consultant might reply briefly saying that they cannot
answer the e-mail more fully; you should try someone else.
- Consultants do not have a role as a counsellor - this
is difficult electronically! If the course is causing a student
problems for any reason, please contact PMR.
- Consultants have agreed to make themselves available to help students
on this course. If you wish to discuss other matters (or
suggest joint activities) approach them very carefully. On no account
is a consultant under any obligation to do someone else's work for them
(writing student assignment, reading drafts of papers, providing
citations, writing references, etc).
What the course can (cannot) expect from students
- Students enter the course with a commitment to follow it
with 'reasonable diligency'. No student is expected to continue
with the course if their real-life circumstances make it too heavy
- Students are expected to make a modest contribution to the
course resources. (Students will be informed of this in good time;
they should use their 'best endeavour', and will not be
criticised for failure to deliver.)
- Students will behave 'reasonably' in debate and other interaction.
They are not obliged to adopt the views of consultants, but
disagreement should not be abusive.
- Students should respect the (limited) resources of the people
and hardware. Debate and discussion is strongly encouraged, but
times and volumes of e-mail amd other communications should be
considered constructively. Remember that consultants are giving
their time freely, and that no fees are charged.
- Students must not abuse other people's goodwill, e.g. by asking people to
write term papers for them.
- Students must not allow others to use their loginId or otherwise
- Students are expected to provide the consultants with feedback.
This will not be an unreasonable amount.
- Students have the right to state that the volume or difficulty
of the course is excessive and for this to be received
- Students should adhere to all local guidelines or rules in
parts of the course (such as MOOs).
- In an international course there will be many cultures and different
education systems. Do not assume that yours is
superior. Be very careful not to offend people who may interpret
your message differently. Remember that English is not the first
language of everybody.
- Where it is possible, please help people who are finding the course
or the technology more difficult than you. Remember that education
is more than learning facts, but is also learning to live with people.
Do not gratuitously show off your own abilities.
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pmr for pps
Sept 18 1994
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Added by: petermr on
Wed Sep 21 08:26:36 GMT 1994