A student-led tutorial yesterday on Elluminate about Richardson’s paper (Richardson, 2009) and his analysis of face-to-face vs online tutoring. Some main discussion points of the discussion:
1. Most participants weren’t impressed with the statistical analysis presented in the paper. Personally I did like that the authors at least tried to measure students’ preferences and showed that the differences were usually not significant. I do agree that the scope of the analysis, one measurement time and two courses, was insufficient to draw wide conclusions. More worryingly, students were not attributed to a group based on random sampling, but based on their preferences.
2. Face-to-face tutoring and in particular online tutoring are not clear-cut terms and imply comparing various things (see figure in previous post). If students would indicate that they prefer face-to-face to online tutoring they may indicate that:
- they prefer synchronous rather than asynchronous communication
- they prefer using traditional media to internet to communicate with the tutor
- they prefer to communicate mostly with the tutor rather than communicating with fellow students
Richardson, J. (2009) Face-to-Face Versus Online Tutoring Support in Humanities Courses in Distance Education , Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 2009; 8; 69 -85 http://ahh.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/8/1/69 (accessed 6th May 2009)