I had a tutorial yesterday that I thought was interesting for partly positive and partly negative reasons.
There were two students. One said she was a "stay
at home mum" and had a one year old at home and no microphone and the
other said he needed to disappear at times to do
answer some questions about his work.
There were times when one or the other disappeared (they told me when
this was happening) and I sometimes had to check that at least one of
them was there; otherwise, I would have been speaking to myself.
However, despite the unexpected nature of the set up, it seemed like a successful tutorial - one student said he understood some key content of the course at last (in an email sent later) and the other student seemed happy with it. Of course, this might just be politeness but she asked many questions so seemed very engaged.
I suppose this shows how flexible we often have to be when teaching distance students as there are many things they are trying to juggle in their lives. However, the unpredictability does not preclude opportunities for learning.