Online tutoring skills
tutor as subject expert
SITUATIONS the tutor will be asked to function as a
subject expert, sometimes acting as the primary source of content but, more likely,
supplementing and acting as a backup to content that is presented elsewhere.
This role is not
dissimilar to the traditional teacher, lecturer or instructor, but what exactly does it
entail? These are the principal behaviours you would expect of the subject expert:
With many online courses, the majority of content is presented in the form
of self-study materials. The subject expert may well have had a role in the preparation of
these, perhaps even as presenter of any audio or video materials.
In other cases, the subject expert may need to present
information in a synchronous, real-time environment. This could range from a text chat
through to broadcast videoconferencing.
With certain types of skills, whether cognitive or psychomotor, the subject
expert may be required to provide a demonstration. This may be available as a resource for
self-study or as part of a live event. Of course, psychomotor skills will not be easy to
demonstrate without video.
There is a great danger that learners will become dependent on a subject
expert, if every question they ask is answered in detail. To avoid this, the subject
matter should, where possible, refer learners to available resources, whether within the
learning materials, or in books or web sites. Spoon feeding simply makes the subject
expert a reference tool for lazy learners.
The subject expert will have a key role to play in contributing to knowledge
bases, FAQs and other reference tools for learners. They are also going to be valid
contributors to discussion forums or chat sessions, although never in a dominant capacity.