Distance Learning Tutor Interview 1

Welcome to the first edition of our distance learning tutor interview series.

We would like to provide our learners with further information on distance learning from the perspective of the tutor. We hope you enjoy these articles written personally by your tutors:

How long have you been an distance learning tutor with Oxford College?

Approximately three years.

What subject do you teach and why do you like it?

I teach the subjects of History and Government & Politics for both A Level and Level 3 Diplomas. I have always found both subjects very interesting since I studied them myself at A-Level many years ago. I find both subjects fascinating in terms of explaining how people live today and how events of the past shape modern society, and both overlap with each other in terms of knowledge and understanding.  I have a degree in Modern History and Politics, an MA in Politics and am working on a PhD in modern political history and theory.

What attracted you to being an online tutor?

I discovered online tutoring by accident when I was looking for some further teaching experiences, but with an established background in teaching and writing educational material I have found it a useful and stimulating means of passing on my subject knowledge to students. The role requires teaching and tutoring skills but also demands effective communication using new technology.

What do you like most about your job as an online tutor?

I like the on-going demands and queries raised by students that keep you on your toes and provide a range and variety of challenges and problems to resolve. I also like the flexibility of the role in that you are not stuck in a fixed classroom environment, but can respond to queries at any time of the day (or night!), and due to the 'virtual' nature of the learning environment can often have a greater range of options in dealing with any issues and problems that arise in the course of the tutoring/leaning process. The overall flexibility of being a distance learning tutor also allows me to continue to progress with my PhD and give both my tutoring commitments and my own academic research equal levels of commitment.

In what ways do you think distance learning plays an important role in higher education today?

Distance learning is very much a growing and modern means of widening people's educational opportunities and prospects in both further and higher education. It involves the use of the latest technology, and with the on-going growth of e-mail communication and the Internet, it appears poised to be at the forefront of modern educational and learning techniques in the 21st century.