#H800 Face-to-Face Tutoring vs Online Tutoring (3)

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
Instead of comparing only 2 forms of tutoring, I think it could be interesting to include a wider range of tutoring formulas, with for example a varying importance of asynchronous and synchronous communication.  It was pointed out as well that the choice of software may have an impact as well on students’ perceptions.  The OU formerly worked with FirstClass before switching to Elluminate.



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)

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This entry was posted in H800.

One comment on “#H800 Face-to-Face Tutoring vs Online Tutoring (3)

  1. Online tutoring refers to the process of tutoring in an online virtual environment or networked environment where teachers and learners are separated by time and space.

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