This unit points out the relevance of the teacher being committed.
Previously mentioned, uploading a script and briefly using a forum, does not qualify as effective online tutoring. If a trainer wants to create an effective and sustainable online course, engaging this task with a high level of commitment is indispensable (MacPherson, 2010; Zaho & Combs, 2011).
An online course will live based on its offered diversity regarding presented information and learning activities. Learners have to be given options of picking projects or topics to optimize their learning. Making those options available has to be done by the teacher. Offering diverse topics and options will appeal to diverse learners.
Community (part II)
In unit 2 “Communication”, the establishment of a community has been explained in regard to its positive effects on the learners. To achieve this communicative environment, the trainer has to invest in different areas of the course to initiate and enable the process of creating a community (MacPherson, 2010).
The course design has to consist of well thought through communication cycles which anime the learners to actively engage within the course. Once the learners are interacting the tutor can choose to what level she/he wants to interact with the learners and hence influence the momentum of interaction. Depending on the shown activeness of the online tutor, the learners will feel animated to further interact.
This entire process is up to the tutor. Generally, the tutor can simply teach the group, give the mandatory feedback and assess the learners without spending too much time. The online course will be completed without having a community.
Or, the teacher decides to invest a little more time and effort into the online course, establishes an active community, consisting of learners who are engaged with their content and are eager to interact with each other and the teacher. All those aspects will lead to a more sustainable learning result (Lock & Redmond, 2006).
Tutoring online means that the direct competition is huge and increasing steadily. To stay relevant and updated, the online tutor has to become a lifelong learner.
In unit 3 “technical skills”, the relevance of staying updated with ICT innovations and technological developments has been pointed out. This also applies for the tuition strategies, learning activities and the chosen content. All these aspects have to be actively followed by the tutor to be able to adjust the online course accordingly and hence guarantee the current relevance of the course.
Networking (or connecting part II)
In unit 2 “communication”, the aspect of connecting as already been explained. It is absolutely optional and can be disregarded by the teacher and the online course will not be influenced negatively. But through active networking, the trainer will learn more about online tutoring itself and about his chosen subject.
Establishing a network requires time and effort. Each valuable contact has to be found, each reliable quality platform or portal has to be researched and personally validated. The demanded effort is comprehensive, but will be rewarded at some point.
An effective online tutor has to be highly motivated and show great commitment, for instance, getting acquainted with the regulations of foreign institutions or teaching methods.
The sustainability of the online course strongly depends on the interaction among the learners, which has to be directed by the online tutor. The online tutor has to constantly monitor the progress of the learners, provide additional resources and encourage the learners to work on topics in more detail.
Also, the trainer provides options for the learners, e.g. different projects they can work on. Through meaningful feedback for the learners, guidance on how to interlink newly acquired information with already existing one and current hands-on topics that closely relate to the subject, the online tutor lays an appealing foundation for the learners to actively engage with other learners and the teacher.
Hence, learners will be able to identify strengths as well as weaknesses and develop critical thinking skills (MacPherson, 2010). This comprehensive task of establishing and maintaining a vivid communication culture, not only requires well developed communication skills, but also commitment by the trainer. A high degree of attentiveness should promote good participation, consisting of active learning techniques (Bigatel et al., 2012), exchange of real-life examples (Smith, 2005) and frequent evaluation processes (Barbera et al., 2014).
Due to the quantity, quality and diversity of the communication required from the online tutor, the teacher has to be motivated, self-regulated, active, socially competent and, most importantly, committed. Online teaching requires activeness and self-introduced commitment of the online tutor (Zaho & Combs, 2011; MacPherson, 2010). For successful learning, the learners require constant and well-proportioned communication by the tutor, regardless if it is input, instructions or feedback. Learners have to know, how to use the technical environment, they have to get prompt feedback and responses, they have to get motivated (Pat El, 2012), they have to get involved (Smith, 2005) and more. All those aspects require honest effort by the teacher.
The entire process of designing an online course, getting to know your learners, frequently use all supportive communication channels and staying updated with current ICT tools and innovations, requires a motivated and committed online tutor. Tutoring online is nothing that can be done by anyone who is willing to upload documents and give learners a multiple-choice-exam at the end. Online tutoring is a comprehensive task, which can be very effective, but is strongly depending on the effort and energy invested by the teacher or trainer.