Tutortalk: Goodbye to Alex Ewing – Environmental Tutor

Tutortalk – Goodbye to Alex Ewing!

Online Environmental and Conservation CourseAt ADL, our Tutors and our Students come from wide walks of life sharing with us the enrichment that comes from such a diverse pool of experiences.  Sadly this means that sometimes people must move on from teaching distance learning courses to the next stage of their lives.  This week sees the departure of Alex Ewing, our tutor for our distance learning Marine Studies and Environmental courses.  Having worked for ADL for the past year we caught up with him while he was packing his suitcase to find out how he felt his time teaching for ADL went.

Which courses did you tutor for?

I did the Environmental and Conservation online courses.  Also the distance learning Marine Studies, and Conservation and Wildlife management courses. I was also responsible for the Aquaculture, and Introduction to Ecology courses.

How did you find those courses to teach?

I was really quite impressed.  I’m not just saying that because I’m being interviewed but because I was really impressed with the standard of the courses and the quality, they’re very good… seems like I might be an advert for ADL.

Well it’s always an advert for ADL!

Well they’re very good courses.  I did think at one point of maybe extending one of the ecology courses and add urban ecology as an addition. But I decided the original course was really well written and this would just be reinventing the wheel with a few different coloured spokes on it.  So I’ve been impressed by the courses but I’ve also been impressed by the standard of students as well. Generally very, very good.  And many of them have been working in related areas to ecology and they can actually bring first-hand experience which is invaluable when you’re a student.

Where do your students generally come from?

Well they’re all over the world starting from Wales out to Egypt.  I’ve had Students in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Africa.  Quite wide ranging actually.

And the course is applicable to students globally?

Yes.  When I first started I was a bit puzzled because I had a student who was listed in Amsterdam.  In his first assignment he was listing animals that were all tropical species from Africa. So I got back to him and asked “Why have you listed African species?” and he said “I’m working for a Dutch development agency in Kenya at the moment so that’s why the list is all African fish”.  I’ve actually learned a lot myself so it’s been a two way street for learning!

You’ve had previous experience as an Educator working in Secondary skills and elsewhere.  How have you found teaching by distance learning?

It’s worked, I think it works very well. Because students learn at their own pace there’s enough time to ask questions and interact. Any problems or difficulties can be addressed early on.  So it works well. It’s a good system

What’s the question people ask you the most?

It’s very difficult because each course is different. There’s no-one general question.  As the courses are different so the questions are different too.  For example bullet points, I had a student who was asking about them, but that wasn’t really about the course.  I don’t think the questions are so impenetrable for people that they can’t be answered.  

So, what’s next for Alex Ewing?

Well I’m going to Spain and I leave in a couple of days.  I’ll be volunteering at a Christian organization.  It’s a drink and drug rehabilitation programme in Barcelona.  I’ll be there for six months and if it turns out right I may stay there longer.

On Behalf of ADL and all your Former Students, we’d like to thank you for taking the time for this interview and wish you all the best on your Spanish Adventure.  Adiós!




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