Training for OUM’s e-tutors has been conducted at selected Learning Centres nationwide by the Centre for Teaching and Learning Management (CTLM).
It was carried out with the understanding that in a fully virtual learning environment, e-tutors play a major role in making online learning a success. Thus, all e-tutors, regardless of their diverse demographics, require a common understanding of their role in order to meet the benchmarks set by OUM.
Led by CTLM head, Assoc Prof Dr Safiah Yusof, as well as Dr P. Rajesh Kumar and Pn Ruzita Ramly, the training programme was set in motion in the first quarter of 2023, backed by the unwavering support of OUM’s top management.
As previously all briefings were conducted virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the in-person gatherings presented a golden opportunity for CTLM to personally meet and engage with the e-tutors.
“We want our e-tutors to have a common understanding of what e-tutoring and online facilitation are at OUM. Moreover, to create an online learning environment in OUM’s learning platform, myINSPIRE, that is friendly, engaging, meaningful, and rewarding for learners, our e-tutors must fully understand their social, pedagogical, managerial, and technical roles. They should be able to carry out these roles seamlessly to make online learning successful. They also need to be clear about what OUM expects of them,” said Dr Safiah.
A recent CTLM survey found that the majority of OUM’s e-tutors possessed master’s degrees and doctorates while only 3% had a bachelor’s degree, which is the minimum requirement for becoming an OUM tutor.
In terms of tutoring with OUM, approximately 75% had 6 to 20 years of experience, with only 25% having served less than 5 years.
Private university academics formed the top category of OUM e-tutors at 43%, while the others came from public universities, teacher training institutes and non-academic organisations. About 10% are retired.
CTLM envisions the training programme as an ongoing commitment rather than a one-off event. Thus, it is currently working on a structured training programme specifically for online facilitators, and plans to launch it by the end of this year.
While the programme is primarily aimed at developing the online facilitation skills of e-tutors with fewer than 5 years of tutoring experience with the university, CTLM’s aspirations extend beyond this.
It is also considering the prospect of expanding the training to other higher education institutions in the region, with the goal of setting a new standard for e-tutoring in Malaysia as well as a benchmark for others to follow.