A SUDDEN SHIFT FROM FACE-TO-FACE TO DIGITAL: WHAT CHALLENGES DID TUTORS FACE WHILE TUTORING DURING COVID-19?
Technische Universität Dresden (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact not only on social life but also on teaching. This influence can be seen, among other things, in the steadily growing number of publications related to Covid-19 and education. But what about the students who were occupied as tutors to teach their fellow students? This paper focuses on student tutors who had to move their tutoring into the virtual space to draw attention to this highly vital group in higher education teaching. The multiple challenges that distinguish online and traditional classroom tutoring are particularly interesting. Thus, the research question is: what challenges did student tutors face by moving their tutoring to the digital space, and how did they counter and overcome them?
Five tutors who offered at least one regular tutorial between the summer semester of 2020 and the winter semester of 2021/2022 at TU Dresden were interviewed to capture the challenges and strategies to tackle them. The student tutors were able to provide insight into the challenges for students and insight into the challenges for teachers. The interviews were qualitatively analyzed to find common themes and to depict the tutors’ reactions to specific challenges. The five tutors interviewed have diverse disciplinary backgrounds, but their experiences as tutors during Covid-19 overlap extensively. Among other things, the tutors mainly reported less communication and active participation by students in the digital space compared to traditional face-to-face classroom tutoring.
The tutors considered different ways to tackle those challenges. Most tutors reported using motivational strategies to engage students in the digital space, e.g., using audience response systems or creative techniques to keep the students actively involved in a session. Some of the tutors interviewed sought support and ideas from other tutors or professional tutoring qualification providers. The idea of getting a qualified e-tutor as a contact person for digital tutorials was particularly well received by the tutors interviewed. E-tutors are trained to accompany virtual (group) learning processes and know the hurdles of virtual collaboration. This publication thus aims not only to identify tutors' challenges and their overcoming strategies during Covid-19 but also to focus on the concept of e-tutors to show that they have an interface function in virtual teaching.
Keywords: Higher Education, Covid-19, Tutor, E-Tutor, virtual teaching.