Who Are My Support Networks?

All students share common concerns when beginning a new course of study. What if I don’t understand the course content? How will I cope with the pressure? What if I fail the assignment or exam?

To make a success of your time as a student, build a suitable support structure through:

  • Our – Supported Open Learning Model
  • Your Tutor
  • Telephone Tutorials
  • Study Groups
  • Your Employer
  • Your Family & Friends
  • You

Our - Supported Learning Model

A major part of the College’s commitment to the three way partnership agreement is the support structures it offers to students. In the delivery of all of its courses the College is committed to providing you with an effective support system.

At the beginning of each year of study you are allocated a College tutor who you will telephone every 2 weeks. Your tutor will: 
  • support you through the learning process 
  • offer you support and guidance in the completion of your assignment work 
The College has found that students who regularly make use of telephone tutorials do better in their assignments and exams than those who do not. Students are therefore encouraged to maintain regular contact with their tutors by keeping tutorial appointments, on a regular basis, every two weeks.
The tutor and student will take part in individual tutorials dealing with the student’s progress in study and assignments, while monitoring work-based support, revision of study topics and local study groups. The course materials, workshop contents and assignment outlines are designed to be understood in parallel with the learning gained from tutorials. It is easy for students to misunderstand assignment tasks and go off on wrong tangents if they do not avail of tutorials on a regular basis during the construction of each assignment. The one-to-one discussions between tutor and student can help to consolidate learning and clarify issues. 
Students can have immediate access to a member of the course team over the telephone in the event of a problem that cannot wait until the next tutorial date. 
Weekly contact with your supervisor/mentor who is usually your line manager. This person mainly provides practical support in organising the work-based assignments and facilitating your professional development. 
In Consultation with the Course Director, the tutor may decide to undertake a Site Visit on some courses, visiting the student in their place of work, meeting their supervisor or mentor and briefing them on assessment procedures. These visits are at the discretion of the tutor.
At the first workshop, the College will facilitate you in meeting people from your own area to form a study group. The local study group forms a vital resource for the students. Each group consists of between two and six participants who meet at regular intervals, usually every three weeks.nThe participants decide the time, location and focus of the study group. The benefits of being involved in a study group are immense. The College has found that the students who actively take part in a study group frequently do better in their assignments, and often enjoy the College experience more, than those who do not.
At the study group, you will get to meet people from different organisations and work settings. This will allow you to: 
Get a broader picture of the disability sector and to gain an insight into different work practices. Become actively involved with the course. Every member of the group brings with them a rich experience of working within social care. 
Share experiences, ideas and opinions with other participants learning a vast amount from each other. Peer learning is a very effective and comfortable way of understanding the course material. Provide a supportive environment that can be very helpful in the planning of the assignments and the revision of study topics. 
Help each other with ideas or issues that they are unfamiliar with, confirming their own ideas and filling in the gaps in each other’s knowledge. 
By taking part in study group, you will get to experience the perspectives of different organisational members, cultures, ages, gender, etc. This can provide a very valuable resource for your studies and allow you to build on the experiences of the different group members. 
If for geographic or time constraint reasons, you cannot be part of a study group, College will facilitate you joining an online study group where you can share ideas and concerns about the course and your assignment.
Your employer will provide a work-based Supervisor or Mentor; usually your line manager. This person provides practical support in facilitating you in completing your work-based assignments and facilitating your professional development.
Many of the work-based assignments require the student to include information about their organisations. Supervisors are often able to facilitate learners with their assignments by supplying the relevant information they need.
As suggested by their name, ‘work-based’ assignments are designed to facilitate students to integrate what they are learning with their work practice and document this for assessment. As a result, students very often need to carry out activities in the workplace and write these up as part of their assignment work. For example, a safety audit for the Health and Safety module. Supervisors can often be of assistance here by offering guidance and support.
Students need access to the telephone during work hours in order to make calls to The Open Training College for tutorials (twice a month).
Support from home is vital; your life will be easier if your family and friends are encouraging and committed to your study. Communication from the beginning will make the transition easier on everybody.
Talk with family members and friends about how the changes in your routine will create new demands on your time. How do they feel about these changes? How will they be affected? How can they help to give you the time you need for study?
Accept your limitations and recognize the learning process for everyone involved. You may have to lower your standards in one area in order to focus on this new area of your life. It will take time for others to adapt to your new life as a student.
Plan for occasions when your family and friends get your undivided attention. Look for College events that they can be a part of. Make sure you give yourself time away from College demands. Click here to learn how to manage your time.
Ask for their help: during “high-anxiety” times; to proofread assignments or essays; quiz you for an exam; be your presentation audience.

Resources (some downloads are unavailable, contact your tutor if you need further supports for this area of study)


Download, print and complete this Exercise to examine and discover your goals for this course.


See the Student Handbook for further information.

You are required to download and read this Student Handbook with care. At workshops the Course Director or Tutor will clarify any queries you may have. Accessing and downloading this handbook constitutes an agreement between you and College that you have read the handbook, understood the content and agree to comply with all College regulations for the duration of your time with the College. A record of you accessing and downloading this document will be made and kept in your student box.

Last modified: Tuesday, 2 October 2018, 8:47 AM