Working online - tutor skills
for handling online chats, discussions, content
by Paula Rebolledo, Gabriel Farías and Angélica Kaulen
A summary for BC Chile 2: E-Moderation: A Training Course for Online Tutors [June 2013]
• Acknowledge students’ contributions regularly
offering positive feedback. Praise their effort and
• Provide a wide range of tasks (from blog entries,
chats, discussions, etc), using different formats
(audio, video, images, slides, etc) and
collaboration (individual, group tasks). Offer
learners to make their own choices.
• Devise tasks which will be of relevance for the
participants as well as useful and appealing.
• Collect feedback along the course
so as to make adjustments or
changes on their expectations
• Build rapport with students.
Write nice messages. Show you care.
• Pace the course in shorter units so that
they appear as achievable.
• Reply to participants’ messages as quickly as possible.
• Acknowledge participants’ expectations and plan the
course taking them into consideration.
• Plan course content and tasks to be engaging and
• Contact participants who lag behind promptly to
clarify doubts, provide support and reassurance.
• Provide alternative tasks for those who want to
be challenged further.
• Ask for participants' input on class topics and
• Allow them to create their own
as well as to act as leaders in
Tutor skills for handling
synchronous and asynchronous
Before teaching an online course
• Tutors must be familiarised with ICT tools.
• If the tutor does not know much about ICT tools,
he/she must be open-minded enough so as to
start learning them.
• Specific training on the field must be taken in
order to be able to start teaching an online
• Commitment to helping students in both
synchronous and asynchronous ways is of
Coping with synchronous online work
• Negotiation of meaning thanks to interaction has to be
the main outcome of the course.
• A calendar for online meetings should preferably involve
everybody’s availability (use a survey like doodle)
• Online platforms such as text chat, blackboard
collaborate, among other ones, can be used to get
together with everybody.
• Performing the task of being the moderator is
compulsory. Nevertheless, in future sessions, this
responsibility could be passed on to the students.
• Questions must be posed to encourage participation.
• Weaving and summarising are necessary to prevent
people from losing track of the conversation.
Dealing with asynchronous worknous
work• A forum is usually the basis of asynchronous
• Introducing yourself to everybody in a friendly way as
well as making them do the same thing is very helpful
to establish a good rapport with them.
• Doing a warm-up activity by either making use of the
forum or doing a mind-map is a must.
• Being prompt to answer questions and reply to e-mail
is a skill which must be learnt.
• Showing clear evaluation criteria and setting
achievable deadlines will prevent students’ slippage or
• Collaborative work must be enhanced at all times.
Online learning and teaching involves
a series of steps
For participants, who gradually build up
expertise in learning online:
- becoming familiar with the VLE and technical tools
- responding efficiently to online tasks
- collaborating in real-life tasks to broaden
- taking the lead towards knowledge construction
and assessing the learning process based on their
For the moderator:
- Since the VLE is the centre of attention at first, the
moderator’s first role is to bridge the gap between
technical, cultural, social and learning contexts so that
participants socialise, becoming familiar with the
platform until it no longer represents a challenge.
- As participants become more actively involved, taking
the lead in organising groupwork collaboration,
processing final outcomes, providing feedback, the
moderator provides guidance and support,
coordinating groupwork, collaboration, and postings.
- In the final stage, the moderator sets tasks to be peer-
directed; participants construct knowledge and develop
insights. The moderator supports and guides the
process, keeping students on track.
Salmon’s 5 step model
of teaching and learning
online (Salmon: 2002)
Stage 1, access and motivation:
-participants interact with each other, finding their way around
the platform, while the tutor provides motivation and sets pace
and rhythm so that participants learn what is expected from them
within an encouraging and safe VLE
E-tivities: online warmers, ice-breakers, relevant and meaningful
Stage 2, socialization:
-participants get to know and relate to one another responding to
tasks based on a shared cultural context .
-tutor guides practice in working together while establishing the
bases for future construction of knowledge
E-tivities: collaboration, chats, discussion, groupwork based on
Stage 3, information exchange:
-group members are assigned different roles; tasks focus on a given
area of content
-tutor starts delegating some control on students
E-tivities: strong task and action focus, demanding students to work
collaboratively and provide each other feedback to deepen
understanding in order to reach the common goal, usually a plenary
Stage 4, knowledge construction:
-participants feel comfortable working in the VLE, manage their time
and collaborate effectively.
-tutor assigns real-life problems and examples to analyse, aiming at
broadening understanding, providing various viewpoints and
E-tivities can be peer-directed, either by students setting the
outcome or designing the process.
• Stage 5, development:
- students are required to gain insight and pass judgement on the
- tutor offers support and guidance
E-tivities: enable evaluation and critique as participants defend
their positions and explore their metacognitive awareness of their
positions towards content as well as their emotions towards
learning. (Monty, 2005)
This summary was prepared by Paula Rebolledo, Gabriel Farías
and Angélica Kaulen for BC Chile 2: E-Moderation: A Training
Course for Online Tutors [June 2013]
• Monty, A. (2005). A pedagogical model of e-learning
at KVL: “The five-stage model of online learning" by
Gilly Salmon. Copenhagen: IT Learning C enter, KVL.
• Salmon, G. (2002). E-tivities. The Key to Active Online
Learning. Taylor & Francis.