Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Study of the Feasibility of Network Tutorial System in Taiwan

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Study of the Feasibility of Network Tutorial System in Taiwan

Article excerpt


The reasons that the current tutorial system (CTS) does not produce significant effects include the budgets and policies of schools, the greater independence of students, and the infrequent interaction of tutors with students. To reduce the deficiencies of the current tutorial system, this paper proposes a network tutorial system (NTS) and discusses the feasibility of the NTS. We use factor analysis to find the emphasized key factors of tutors, the counselors of student counseling centers (abbreviated as counselors), and students, respectively, about the feasibility of the NTS. Also, we use t test to check whether the mean opinion of male students and that of female students have significant difference with respect to each evaluation item of the feasibility of the NTS. Taiwanese universities and colleges are used as the research subjects. The empirical results show that the most emphasized factor of the tutors and students is "privacy esteem." The most emphasized factor of the counselors is "the efficiency enhancement of counseling due to the NTS." The gender differences of students do not influence the evaluation results of them for the feasibility of the NTS.


Computer-mediated communication, Hypermedia system, Factor analysis, Network tutorial system, Gender differences

1. Introduction

Several researchers (Marland, 1979; Maxwell, 1994; Brammer, 1998) studied the topics about tutor, since a tutor can help students in several aspects: learning, life guidance, career planning, etc. Several studies focus on the role of personal tutors. Charnock (1993) suggested that the role of a personal tutor is to help students in a condition of constant change within education and in the delivery of health care. The role of a personal tutor is to cultivate students' self-awareness and self-esteem (Burnard, 1990; Charnock, 1993; Phillips, 1994; Riseborough, 1994). Gidman (2001) examined nursing programs and identified three distinct aspects of the role of personal tutor: clinical, pastoral, and academic. The clinical role supports students during clinical placements. The pastoral role assists students with accommodation, financial matters, and other issues that influence the students' ability to learn. The academic role should include assessing of individual learning needs, monitoring students' progress, and facilitating the development of self-directed learning skills.

Phillips (1994) identified three key elements within the role of the personal tutor: teaching, counseling, and supporting. She suggested the personal tutor acted as facilitator, advisor, critic, friend, and examiner, and that the role involved balancing assistance and facilitation. According to investigation results in Zhu (2002), we can find that the role of a tutor in most of schools is to provide help on life guidance (counseling service), learning, career development, and/or class affairs management for students that are managed by the tutor.

In addition, some researchers have discussed the influence of tutors on the learning or academic discussion of students. Newton & Smith (1998) extended the interpersonal relationships between students and personal tutors into the practice placement areas. They found that a personal tutor who knows a student's strengths and weaknesses would be in the ideal position to collaborate and negotiate with student to create real student-central learning.

Basturkmen (2003) studied the ways the presence and absence of the tutor influenced the interaction for academic discussion, specifically on "exchange structures." The study found that in the interaction with the presence of the tutor, half the exchanges were initiated by students. The arrival of the tutor had an impact on the discussion in two interrelated ways. First, the discussion became more solution driven rather than ideas focused. Second, it became more mutually other-oriented. This mutually other-orientation was constituted in exchange structure, that is, interaction largely made up of moves that were responded to by another or elicited response from another. …

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