The South African Institute of Distance Education has developed a new guide for adjunct instructors supporting learners at a distance (called tutors outside North America).

From the press release

Gabi Witthaus, now on the Beyond Distance Research Alliance (BDRA) team at the University of Leicester (UK), started working with SAIDE in 2008 to update the publication as a web-based guide to distance tutoring, using the affordances of the web–linked pages, with external as well as internal links, and the facility to insert multi-media as well as text-based resources. The revised resource incorporates much of the accumulated wisdom from Saide’s eighteen years of existence, but also embrace recent developments such as the Open Educational Resources ‘movement’, and the proliferation of learning and research tools in a Web 2.0 environment.

The resource is available not only on Saide’s own OER website, but also in the OER repository of the University of Leicester, and on the higher education OER repository in the United Kingdom, Jorum.

The abstract for the resource reads:

This is a set of course materials intended for tutors in blended learning or fully online programmes. It takes readers reflectively through what it means to support learners in e-learning environments of a variety of kinds – both at a distance, and in conventional contact tuition environments that are web supported. The materials have been designed for learning in developing contexts in which bandwidth is often a challenge.

The materials include a sample learning pathway with key activities which illustrate how the materials can be used in an online course for the training of tutors using Web 2.0 tools such as forums, blogs, and wikis.

The abstract highlights the distinction between the course materials and the learning pathway that guides learners through the course materials. Without a learning pathway, learner engagement with the course materials runs the risk of becoming a random encounter without a clear purpose or results.


SAIDE has a long experience of distance education in often challenging conditions. Institutions in economically advanced countries who have recently moved into online learning could benefit greatly from the wisdom and experience gathered in this resource.




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