Perceptions and expectations of students in non-thesis graduate programs pertaining to good tutor in distance education

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2014
Kara, Mehmet
This study aims to investigate perceptions and expectations of students in non-thesis graduate programs pertaining to good tutor in distance education including advisors in graduate programs. The good tutor perceptions of students were also examined considering the students’ age, gender, university, subject field, previous online learning experience, and their semesters. The participants of the study are graduate students in non-thesis distance education programs in two public universities in Turkey. Mixed methods research design was used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data using a questionnaire and an interview schedule. The results showed that participants’ rated the questionnaire items positively for all five factors in the questionnaire. There were significant differences in students’ scores when considered students’ general characteristics. Promoting Interaction scores varied by university and subject fields; Pastoral Care scores varied by gender, and Vocational Guidance scores varied by previous online learning experience. The qualitative analysis findings about good tutor perceptions revealed that the students give importance to the Expertise and Personality of the distant tutors. They expect distant tutors to be competent in the areas of Teaching, Pastoral Care, Promoting Student-Student Interaction, and Student-Tutor interactions. Moreover, they expect distant advisors to be competent in the areas of Motivation, Pastoral Care, and Advisor-Advisee interaction. The quantitative and qualitative analyises provide consistent results and an in-depth understanding of good tutor and advisor in distance education from the students’ perspectives. The results also provide guiding information for the tutors, advisors, and distance education institutions for the successful implementation of distance education.