Task 2: Articulating good practice (no more than 2 hours) (badge activity)

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Brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring
by Ulrike Fasbender - Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 10:10 AM

Brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring

I created this brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring based on Salmon’s (2003) five stages model involving different technical skills and e-moderating activities. In doing so, I adapted some relevant changes thought all five phases as can be seen below.

  1. Technical preparation and access: The technical preparation is the baseline for a successful online course. It involves a thoroughly planning prior selecting appropriate platform technology to enable frequent and qualitative exchange between lecturers and students, as well students among each other. Here, technology needs to involve visual, auditory, and potentially also kinaesthetic elements. Further, it is important to enable and mark simultaneous working online (e.g., the google docs technology could be of high value). However, not every course necessary needs a highly frequent exchange; therefore the planning process is very relevant to identify what exactly is needed.
  2. Motivation and online socialisation: A welcoming climate and relationship building (from the beginning on and also throughout the course) is the essential to build trust and set an effective and efficient working atmosphere. Politeness, support, and facilitation are the crucial elements to be expressed here.
  3. Organisation of the framework: Now, it is time to be more task-oriented in managing students. Clear goal setting (e.g., using the SMART approach) and binding time scheduling needs to be expressed to set the framework for the course.
  4. Information exchange: Based on the technical setup of the online platform, the e-moderating activity of facilitating task understanding and supporting with the use of learning materials is particular relevant to enable information exchange. Here, lecturers need to be particularly present (i.e., also be visual) to students to provide frequent feedback (e.g., interim results) that helps the learning process. The best way is to directly comment on the students work as this individually connects lecturers’ input to students’ learning process. This time-intensive activity needs to needs to be acknowledged and clarified in the lecturer’s role (e.g., in the contract). Additionally, a peer-reviewed assessment procedure can help to strengthen the learning community.
  5. Knowledge construction and development: To manifest the learning results, assessments are a crucial part of the online teaching. Here it is relevant to relate to the previous interim results to indicate the learning process and enable future development.



Picture of marion waite
Re: Brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring
by marion waite - Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 2:45 PM

Thank you Ulrike.  Do you think that tutors need to be consistently commenting on student work? I think there is consensus that effective support in the online context is different, but certainly within the HE context, it is adult learning and frequently postgraduate. So I wondered when some independence might be anticipated and potential for peer learning, assessment and feedback?

I am suggesting that everyone on this forum takes a look at other posts to compare and contrast inventories and give some feedback and make some comment upon this.

The questions that I pose to you, I pose to everyone so far.

Thank you again.



Picture of Ulrike Fasbender
Re: Brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring
by Ulrike Fasbender - Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 5:10 PM

Dear Marion, thanks for your reply. I agree, peer-feedback is relevant for the learning process in particular in higher education. Therefore, I did include this in the fourth stage about information exchange. Now, I still think that the role of the lecturer is particularly valuable for students as they wait for a contribution from perceived experts in the field. Also, I state that a high visibility of lecturers increases students’ participation in peer-review. It would be interesting whether there are research studies that have addressed this issue. ;-)

Re: Brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring
by Elaine Ulett - Wednesday, 6 May 2015, 6:44 PM

Hi Ulrike,

Thank you for your inventory which seems to cover all areas of good practice in online tutoring. You based it on Salmon’s five stages model involving different technical skills and e-moderating activities. Therefore, you included at the start of your inventory, technical preparation and access. The 7 Prinicples which I based my inventory on focused on good practice by the tutor and did not address the technical side. However, I agreed that the technical aspect is an essential part of good practice in online tutoring, as there would be no course without it so thanks for reminder.


Re: Brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring
by Katherine Staples - Thursday, 7 May 2015, 4:07 PM

Hi Ulrike

I was interested to see that you had created an inventory based on Salmon's five stages model, with your own adaptation. I don't think I had specified thinking about the technology platform, so thank you for the reminder.

In section 2 you mention that politeness, support and facilitation are key to relationship building. Do you have an specific ideas about things you could do to help this process?

In Section 3 you talk about organising the framework - I assume you are referring to the structure of the course and the activities within it?

In section 5 would you include the Learning Outcomes as part of the criteria for the final assessment?

I liked the brevity of your response and the structure given by Salmon's model. I think your points in sections 1 and 4 were really well made.

Thanks for sharing this


Picture of Michael Mason
Re: Brief inventory of good practice in online tutoring
by Michael Mason - Thursday, 7 May 2015, 8:26 PM

Hi Ulrike, I thought your summary of how Salmon's five principles can be applied was very effective. I also liked the emphasis on technical preparation. Was there anything in particular that swayed you towards Salmon's theoretical approach, than say the Community of Inquiry model?

On Marion's question, on the question of learner independence, I wonder whether it might be particularly important to be explicit in the course description to make it clear to students they will be requested to undertake (and be subject to) peer review assessment. From this course, I can well see the benefits from the students a) being given this responsibility and b) accepting and valuing peer feedback. I just wonder to the paying customer, whether expectations about having access to the ‘expert’ at all times need to be carefully managed and the benefits of peer review explained in advance?