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Do tutors make a difference in online learning? A comparative study in two Open Online Courses
Heller, Richard Frederick · Chilolo, Edward · Elliott, Jonny · Johnson, Brian · Lipman, David · Ononeze, Victoria · Richards, Justin

PublishedJuly 2019
JournalOpen Praxis
Volume 11, Issue 3, Pages 229-241
CountryAustralia, Tanzania, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT
Two free fully online courses were offered by Peoples-uni on its Open Online Courses site, both as self-paced courses available any time and as courses run over four weeks with tutor-led discussions. We tested the hypothesis that there are no measurable differences in outcomes between the two delivery methods. Similar numbers attended both versions of each course; students came from multiple countries and backgrounds. Numbers of discussion forum posts were greater in tutor-led than self-paced courses. Measured outcomes of certificates of completion, quiz completion and marks gained were very similar and not statistically significantly different between the tutor-led and the self-paced versions of either course. In light of little discernible difference in outcome between self-paced learning compared with courses including tutor-led discussions, the utility of the time cost to tutors is in question. The findings may be relevant to others designing online courses, including MOOCs.

Keywords open online course · tutor · outcome · student engagement · motivation · self-paced learning

LanguageEnglish
ISSN2304-070X
RefereedYes
RightsCC BY
DOI10.5944/openpraxis.11.3.960
Export optionsBibTex · EndNote · Tagged XML · Google Scholar



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