How important is synchrony in learner support?

Macdonald, J. R. (2007). How important is synchrony in learner support? In: Hochschule und Weiterbildung: The Convergence of Traditional and Distance Learning in a World of Increasing Diversity, 23-24 Mar 2006, Hamburg.



This paper explores the issue of face to face support and synchronous interaction within blended strategies, drawing upon two recent studies undertaken at the Open University in Scotland which have involved both distance and campus based universities (Macdonald, 2006). In the first study, Open University tutors were asked to record their current practice in supporting students at significant points through the course presentation. In particular, tutors were required to explain and reflect on why they had adopted particular strategies to support their students, whether with groups or individuals, in formal or formal ways, using a variety of media. Their perceptions on quality in intervention and how that influenced their strategy and choice of media are described here. In a second study of blended strategies in 50 distance and campus based institutions, respondents were asked to describe their use of online and face to face contact with students. Their perceptions on the value of face to face contact are compared with those of the earlier study.

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