Reading: Richardson (2009), ‘Face-to-face (F2F) versus online tutoring support in humanities courses in distance education’
Points from paper
Alexander (2001) identified 3 factors determining the quality of the student’s experience:
- Communication & support
- ICT literacy
pg 70 – the importance of appropriate learning design rather then the use of ICT.
pg 74 – Student approaches in higher education are categorised as being deep, strategic or surface approaches.
Students’ perception of the course’s quality may be a factor which influences the learning experience.
Comparing briefly the two papers written by Richardson that we have read this week, I have perceived that this study is broader and adds the material ‘quality’ factor. Thus focus is not solely on good ‘tutoring’ as online tutoring support can have a wider spectrum (if compared to F2F).
Isn’t there a problem when comparing F2F directly with online learning? These are different modes of learning as there is a different mode of communication. How can we think that one is ‘better’ then the other? Online learning as pointed out lacks paralinguistic cues but on the other hand it provides benefits of asynchronous tools like forums or blogs. One needs to be aware of the specs of the mode of learning being used so as to get the best possible experience.
> Bearing in mind what I said earlier about the role of rhetoric in reports of educational research, do you find my conclusion – that institutions can feel confident about exploring the use of online forms of tutorial support – a convincing one?
Institutions may feel confident ONLY if appropriate online learning design is in place. Still this study shows that there are a reasonable percentage of students who prefer F2F tutoring for a variety of reasons (see pg 76). Thus should institutions use solely online tutoring at the expense of students who have problems, example in connecting to the Internet?
Results in this study show that with appropriate support, time allocation and awareness of student literacy this is true. It is important that students are given appropriate support and cues of how to use effectively the course’s tools mainly access to the tutor and material provided. This is highlighted by Price (2007) when stressing the need for teacher and student training.
A problem not tackled directly by Richardson (2009) in his work is the learning shift (away from a teacher-centred approach) that some students need to make in order to use effectively online support.
The history of the OU shows that a shift in the type of media being used is inevitable. The shift to the popular media, might be happening so as to keep at pace with society. At the same time, the effectiveness of different media (radio, TV, CD-ROMs etc) cannot be measured by the same yard stick as although there is always the same aim of learning, the roads being used to reach this aim are not the same.
From experience I believe that students need to have some time in order to adapt to major changes when shifting between for example primary and secondary. Even when moving online, students will be facing a new environment which needs proper scouting. In fact when applying for H800, which happens to be my first course with OU, colleagues already studying with OU, told me that all required material would be posted to home. On the other hand different from other courses, a different type of approach needs to be used on this course. In fact I am adapting to this new way of studying online where books are replaced with e-books and the notebook is replaced by a blog. But have all students starting this course been able to adapt?