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The reality of online tutorials

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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.

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hello Patrick,

I attended an online tutorial Monday evening, when I arrived there were 4 other students, the highest attendance came to 8 but not continually, I gained a lot from the tutorial and as I am on a north west Scottish island and the nearest f2f tutorials are in the central belt, I rely on online tutorials,

I always gain from attending online tutorials, I am sure your students did too, Frances

Patrick Andrews

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Thanks, Frances

I agree with you.  The fact that there was a low attendance does not mean it is not important and in fact, it has led to the opening up of dialogue between one of the students and me by email.