A Tutor's View, Psychology

Congratulations to School tutor David Morrison

The School congratulates our Associate Lecturer David Morrison. David has won a Tutor Award as part of the OU’s Recognition of Excellence in Teaching Awards (RET). The winners of these awards have been nominated by their students, so to receive one is a direct acknowledgement and appreciation of the excellent support that David provides as a tutor. 


The recipients of the RET awards were chosen from an original list of 441 tutors. The panel making the awards report that it is heart-warming to see how the shortlisted tutors are appreciated by their students. David’s students said that he inspired and motivated them, allowed them to identify strengths and weakness and had a supportive feedback style.

Here, David answers some questions about OU teaching and learning.

How long have you been an Associate Lecturer?

I joined the OU in 2017 as an Associate Lecturer on DD310 Counselling and Forensic Psychology. One of the highlights that first year was going back to universities in Glasgow and Belfast where I’d previously studied – except this time I was teaching for the OU.

In 2018, I also started teaching on DD803 Evaluating psychology: research and practice, which is the final module of the new MSc in Psychology. I supervise students who are conducting literature reviews in Counselling Psychology. As a happy coincidence, one of the tutors who delivered the first tutorial with me was also my social psychology tutor when I did my psychology degree with the OU over 10 years ago. Her feedback helped me the most as an undergraduate so it was a special moment to be working alongside her now.

What are your own memories of being an OU student?

I decided to study psychology when I turned 30. I rang my local university and they told me I’d been away from education too long and needed to do another A-Level. When I contacted the OU, they registered me without any precondition and even awarded me credit transfer for my previous studies.

I’ve now studied at five different universities but the OU is still the best learning experience I’ve had. The quality of the module materials is second to none and the feedback you get is so detailed compared with most universities.

What do you enjoy about tutoring for the OU?

That’s easy: the students! They are an inspiration. OU students somehow balance their studies with jobs and volunteering work, looking after children and parents, or managing chronic health problems. They are the most resourceful and resilient people I’ve ever met.

What do you think are the biggest advantages, and challenges, for people studying with the OU?

The isolation can be difficult to manage. Sometimes you feel like you’re the only person struggling with the module materials or you’re at your wit’s end with a TMA. However, one of the big advantages of studying with the OU is the flexibility. You can study anytime and anywhere. Conventional universities force students to rearrange their lives around a teaching schedule and this closes the door of Higher Education to so many. At the OU, students can simply pick up the module materials whenever they get a free moment.

Do you have a key piece of advice that you give students?

‘Done is better than perfect’. Psychology students are notorious for tinkering at their assignments for hours. But there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ assignment. Even experienced academics get lots of suggestions for improvements when they submit articles for publication. So edit your assignment, proof read it, and make sure it’s well presented. Then stop and submit it. Don’t waste hours making cosmetic changes that will make little or no difference to the grade.

What does this RET award mean to you?

Like all OU tutors, I’ve simply been ‘doing my job’. I was surprised to be nominated – let alone win an award – and I’m grateful to those students who took the time to do this. I feel humbled to win such an award at a university where tuition standards are very high. After getting so much from my own OU studies, it’s nice to know I’ve been able to help the next generation of OU students.

Thank you David Morrison. Congratulations again for the award and we’ll make your advice our slogan of the week: ‘Done is better than perfect’.

David Morrison teaching


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