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HIGHER EDUCATION, ONLINE TUTORING AND THE TEACHING PROFESSION

By Luis Roberto de Camargo Ribeiro, Marcia Rozenfeld Gomes de Oliveira and Daniel Mill

Abstract

This article brings the analysis of a study—of a descriptive-analytical nature—about online tutoring, some of its characteristics and peculiarities as compared to face-to-face education. To this end it analyzes the results of an online questionnaire answered by 222 tutors pertaining to programs offered at Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar) in partnership with Universidade Aberta do Brasil (UAB) and Brazilian townships. The analysis focused on tutors’ characteristics (e.g., sex, education background and teaching experience), their work organization and activities, the division of labor (between tutors and teachers responsible for subjects), and their perceptions about the nature of tutoring and education at a distance (DE). This study is chiefly based on authors such as Lortie, Tardif, and Shulman—about face-to-face teaching—and Mill, Maggio, and Kenski—on distance education. The results of this study point to the predominance of female tutors, which resembles the makeup of the teaching body in face-to-face education at the lower levels, and indicate the respondents’ high levels of schooling and considerable face-to-face teaching experience. Despite the difficulties encountered by the tutors in this study, mainly due to their lack of experience in DE and varied technical problems, most of the tutors found it easy and pleasurable to work online. The dada also suggest that the tutors enjoyed comparative autonomy as regards actions associated with content transmission as well as actions related to (virtual) classroom management. This autonomy may be the basis for the respondents’ perception that the online tutor, in the context under consideration, performs a genuine teaching function

Topics: Ensino Superior, Educação a Distância, Tutoria Virtual, Prática Docente, Profissão Docente., Education, L, Education (General), L7-991
Publisher: Editora da Universidade de Santa Cruz do Sul
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:d4092ccffaea4e88a7eb2f4a53cb47e7
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