How to Offer Effective Pastoral Support in a Distance Learning Institution

Hardie, Liz and Ryan, Francine (2024). How to Offer Effective Pastoral Support in a Distance Learning Institution. In: Bleasdale, Lydia ed. How to Offer Effective Wellbeing Support to Law Students. How to guides. Edward Elgar, pp. 88–101.



COVID-19 caused a sudden shift to online learning and post pandemic the rise of online education is set to continue. The OU provides high-quality online learning materials with online and face to face support. Students at the OU combine study with work and caring responsibilities therefore pastoral support must be delivered flexibly to meet the needs of a diverse body of students. You might be new to online learning and want to understand better how to support students online. This chapter draws on case studies to explore strategies to deliver pastoral support at a distance. The online environment presents challenges and careful consideration must be given to overcome those barriers. The chapter offers academics insights into personal tutoring within a distance education setting. It explores what aspects of support work best and considers how regular communication from tutors plays a vital role in personalising the learning experience of online students.

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