Macdonald, Janet and Hills, Laura
Combining reflective logs with electronic networks for professional development among distance education tutors.
Distance Education, 26(3) pp. 325–329.
The provision of a professional development programme for distance tutors can be problematic because of the need for flexibility to cater for a variety of working practices, or to overcome the hurdles imposed by geographical remoteness. At the UK Open University, online networks are widely in use for teaching and learning, and we are actively exploring their potential for professional development. This paper describes the Supporting Open Learners in A Changing Environment project, which has piloted a reflective approach to professional development using a log to structure reflection, which is then shared with others in a computer conference. Our evaluation of tutors' perspectives of the project indicated that all participants found the experience stimulating and helpful for identifying and sharing issues of student support, although some found the process unexpectedly time consuming. We believe there is considerable potential for such an approach to networked reflection among distance tutors, provided the issue of tutor time can be addressed.
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