Students’ experiences of synchronous online tuition in health and social care
This article considers the online tutorial experiences of 10 female undergraduate students studying a health and social care module at a large UK-based university that specialises in distance learning. The research uses the Community of Inquiry as a theoretical framework and takes an experience-centred narrative approach, using Voice-Centred Relational Method to analyse diaries and interviews. The analysis uncovers how tutorial experiences are embedded in the social and cultural contexts of students’ lives and are fitted around their caring roles. These students experience variation in tutorial design and in the tutors’ characteristics. They value friendly, empathetic tutors who enable students’ contributions and respond encouragingly. Students avoid using microphones in tutorials for multiple reasons but enjoy taking an active part via other tools. They appreciate hearing peers’ perspectives and prefer small group sizes. A sense of community is missing, particularly for students with fewer supportive friends, colleagues, or family members. They long to see people’s faces and build relationships. An awareness of students’ contexts and preferences can help educators to enable positive tutorial experiences.
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