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Online tutorial report: SIOT 20

This tutorial took place during June/July 2015. The text was concerned with climate change and our tutor was Wendy Baskett.

The tutorial began with Wendy introducing herself and encouraging us (nine in total) to do the same. We comprised of a wide range of specialties with only one or two having much that would be described as a related specialism. I was not one of them. The text was understandable for a non-specialist but not without its complexities. There were contained within a good number of graphs and charts and statistical information.

The first two weeks are spent in relative isolation creating an index, as a student at module B this was the first large index I have had to create and it was a challenge. A steep but incredibly useful learning curve. As I had recently purchased some indexing software it was the perfect opportunity to try it out in a ‘safe’ way. Wendy was happy to support that and I had fellow students on the main student list who were on hand to answer software specific questions. The second two weeks began with everyone posting their indexes, a somewhat terrifying moment. It was not as bad as I had thought. Although the indexes were all different there were enough similarities to reassure us all.

The main issues that the group found to be difficult included multiple apparent meta-topics, term selection with specialist terms, how to deal with boxed material and figures and the intricacies of editing an index. The text was complicated in that it had many interweaving themes which were difficult to tease apart. Wendy offered useful advice as I emailed through when I got stuck.

The second two weeks were the discussion period. During this time Wendy emailed through a discussion point, everyone had a couple of days to think about it and email comments and then she summed it up and moved us forward. Her summaries were gold dust and I learnt a lot from them. Finally in the last week Wendy posted her index and we got to ask any questions we had. A useful answer to a question was a description she gave us on how she had produced this index, her processes and decision making.

I initially began the tutorial hoping that it would give me the confidence to take the module B test. However, as others had mentioned before, because there is no individual feedback permitted I came away feeling that although I had learnt a lot I did not know if the index I had spent time creating was good enough. It has not helped me decide if I am well prepared for the module B test. Wendy was a fabulous tutor and her insight, guidance and approachability were invaluable.

Claire Williams
July 2015