The Role of Tutors as an Integral Part of Online Learning Support

Maggie McPherson and Miguel Baptista Nunes
email: m.a.mcpherson@sheffield.ac.uk / j.m.nunes@sheffield.ac.uk
Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield
Regent Ct, 211 Portobello St, Sheffield, S1 4DP, UK.
This paper was shortlisted for the 'Best paper award' at the
Third EDEN Research Workshop, Oldenburg, Germany, 2004

Abstract

This paper discusses the changing roles of tutors when engaging with e-learning. Understanding the importance of these roles and identifying necessary tutoring skills is paramount for the success of e-learning solutions. Since online tutors play a critical role in e-learning, as the main agents responsible for the delivery of the courses and the support of the learners, they must be equipped with an appropriate set of skills and attributes in addition to subject matter expertise. This paper discusses four main types of roles (pedagogical, social, managerial and technical) and proposes Online Learning Support (OLS) as computer-mediated approaches to support and facilitate learning, using a combination of skills that encompass information and IT expertise, as well as expertise in the educational uses of online learning resources, environments and communication technologies. Therefore, the process of online tutoring is probably the most important critical success factor in learner acceptance of e-learning.

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Tags

e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, ICT, information and communication technology, internet, collaborative learning, learning management system, MOOC, interaction, LMS,

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