Face-to-face versus online tutoring support in distance education

Price, Linda, Richardson, John T. E. and Jelfs, Anne (2007) Face-to-face versus online tutoring support in distance education. Studies in Higher Education, 32(1), pp. 1-20. ISSN (print) 0307-5079


The experiences of students taking the same course by distance learning were compared when tutorial support was provided conventionally (using limited face-to-face sessions with some contact by telephone and email) or online (using a combination of computer-mediated conferencing and email). Study 1 was a quantitative survey using an adapted version of the Course Experience Questionnaire and the Revised Approaches to Studying Inventory. Study 2 was another quantitative survey using the Academic Engagement Form. Study 3 was an interview-based examination of the students? conceptions of tutoring and tuition. In all three studies, the students receiving online tuition reported poorer experiences than those receiving face-to-face tuition. Study 3 showed that tutoring was seen not only as an academic activity but also as a highly valued pastoral activity. To make online tuition successful both tutors and students need training in how to communicate online in the absence of paralinguistic cues.

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