`It's a unique role!' Perspectives on Tutor Attributes and Expertise in Distance Language Teaching

Monica Shelley, Cynthia White, Uwe Baumann, Linda Murphy, IRRODL, Oct 01, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The research in this report (n varies between 17 and 32) leads the authors to conclude that "Tutors who work within distance education differ markedly from their classroom counterparts in terms of the roles they assume, the ways in which they interact with students, and the attributes and expertise required of them." This may even be true, but I still have to ask, when are journal editors going to reject this sort of sham that passes as academic research? This is not to disparage the authors - they are simply doing what they have led to believe is the way things are done. And the program they describe is worthwhile. But the conclusions, I'm sure, could have been reached without the study - and would have been no less supported.
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