The e-Tutor Figure: Findings and conclusions of a case-study research project
© The Author(s) 2011
Received: 15 July 2010
Accepted: 15 September 2010
Published: 15 January 2011
This article describes the findings and conclusions drawn from a study analysing the role of the teacher/tutor in two e-learning experiences undertaken at two public institutions in Asturias, Spain, in the 2007/2008 academic year. The aim of the study was to explore the various ways of understanding the teacher/tutor figure from a different yet complementary perspective to that of other studies in which the figure’s functions, roles and competencies have already been underscored. A case-study methodology was used for this research project. The cases were selected using intentional sampling. The analysis focused on three aspects: a) The conception of training design and implementation phases as either integrated or separate phases, and, consequently, the existence of one or more professionals; b) The students’ assessment of the teacher/tutor’s work, and; c) The teacher/tutors’ and students’ assessment of communication tool use and the content of interaction generated within the virtual classroom. This triple analysis allowed us to conclude that there are several ways of conceiving and carrying out the function of an e-teacher/tutor (“narrow” or “broad”). Furthermore, the results of the study suggest that there is a need to perform a critical reading of the so-called advantages of the e-learning approach over the face-to-face approach. The conclusion drawn from the results of this study is that further research needs to be undertaken into the educational — and not only the technical — dilemmas of e-learning, which would involve taking greater account of the social, educational, organisational and political variables that have an impact on it.