OU courses are structured according to constructivist principles. Constructivism implies the need to promote discovery, dialog, interaction, contextualisation and reflection, rather than delivery of content and information (Cooner, 2005). This means that the role of the tutor is less focused on delivery of content, but on a range of other tasks, dubbed “e-moderating” tasks (Salmon, 2004).
|E-moderating scheme (based on Salmon, 2004)|
In my opinion the main role of the tutor is to help students making their way through the course. For some people, occasional feedback on forum posts and assignments is sufficient, others may need more regular feedback or reassuring/ motivational messages. Ideally a tutor can gradually leave tasks to the group, such as responding to questions, praising others’ postings, weaving and summarizing, taking a backseat position and filling the gaps where necessary.