Welcome to the second edition of our distance learning tutor interviews. 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 online tutor with Oxford College?
Since December 2009.
What subject do you teach and why do you like it?
I tutor A Level Ancient History and A Level Classical Civilisation - they are great subjects because they allow people to develop their interests in ancient civilisations. People are interested in the ancient Greeks and Romans whether it's reading about them or watching films such as Gladiator and '300'. History at school is very much based on the 20th century - Ancient History offers a nice alternative!
What attracted you to being an online tutor?
After a few years in the classroom at schools, sixth forms and in higher education, I studied a PGCE in online and distance learning. New technologies are constantly being introduced and people in education are developing new ways to use these technologies in order to enhance learning. I wanted to be able to utilise these technologies to develop new online courses and resources and help as many people as possible develop their understanding of Ancient History.
What do you like most about your job as an online tutor?
The learners! I try to make myself as accessible as possible to help them with their queries. The enthusiasm that the learners have is just amazing.
In what ways do you think distance learning plays an important role in higher education today?
Distance learning is the future! In countries such as Australia and Canada, as well as developing countries, distance learning has enabled learners to learn and attain qualifications without being penalized for living in locations removed from educational establishments.
In the UK, especially for Further Education and even Higher Education, it is cost effective. It enables any student to be able to study the course they want when they want and importantly - how they want. Different learners have different learning styles. A classroom course with lots of discourse with students and tutor may be desired by some. Others may want to go it alone. Distance learning caters to both.
Smaller subjects, such as Ancient History and Classical Civilisations are often squeezed out of large institutions due to lack of funding, space or lack of qualified staff. The result is a narrowing of subjects in these institutions and a corresponding decline. This is a real shame as many students are interested in say Egypt or Rome, but cannot study it as it is simply not available in the local area. With the use of the Internet it means that learners can study almost anywhere in the world.