Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Online Tutoring Procedure for Research Project Supervision: Management, Organization and Key Elements

Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Online Tutoring Procedure for Research Project Supervision: Management, Organization and Key Elements

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Research project tutoring appears as a crucial element for teaching; it is a planned action based on the relationship between a tutor and a student. This paper presents the findings of a design and development research which has as its main aim to create an organization system for the tutoring of online research projects. That system seeks to facilitate the tutoring and supervision task with trainee researchers, providing guidance for its management and instruments for its implementation. The main conclusions arising from this research derive from considering the need to offer a solution to the problem of distance research project supervision and has materialized in organization and sequencing through a model about the variables that influence the research project tutoring problem.

KEYWORDS: SUPERVISION, DIRECTOR-SUPERVISEE, RELATIONSHIP, RESEARCH PROJECT, GUIDANCE

1 INTRODUCTION

The aim sought with the research presented in this paper is to design a procedure for online research project tutoring (Spanish initials, TPI), identifying the organizational and process-related elements in practice and offering solutions to it. TPI is understood here as the organization (management) of research project supervision and the relationship which is established between the supervisor and the trainee researcher. The research works revised describe this tutoring with the terms 'supervision' or 'direction.' Taking into account that a tutor represents support, guidance and orientation, that different types of tutoring exist depending on their purpose -pedagogic, administrative, personal, practicum-related, etc.- and also that a supervisor performs pedagogic roles focused on research, leads us to believe that it is possible to refer to research project direction/supervision as a special case of tutoring that offers the student guidance and orientation in aspects linked to the acquisition of research skills, motivation and personal orientation, administrative advice, and technological as well as professional issues.

An iterative methodological process is followed that includes a variety of design, implementation, assessment, and redesign stages. That process entails: a) the design of a procedure for TPI based on a review of the literature and the collaboration of potential users; b) the consultation with research project tutors who have experience in online supervision, and with trainee researchers, about the procedures, actions and factors that influence tutoring; c) implementation and putting into practice of the tutoring model with a group of tutors and trainee researchers; d) assessment and improvement. These actions are developed cyclically and, therefore, the design progresses, improves, and matures according to the results which are progressively obtained.

The research developed here is placed within the framework of the actions undertaken in the project Estrategias metodológicas para la integración de entornos virtuales institucionales, sociales y personales de aprendizaje [Methodological strategies for the integration of virtual, institutional, social and personal learning environments], with the official code EDU2011-25499 of the Educational Technology Group at the University of the Balearic Islands.

Its development is additionally contextualized in a specific institution and degree, the National Southern Patagonia University (Spanish initials, UNPA) and the Master's Degree in Education in Virtual Environments.

The present paper shows a model for online TPI where its key elements and the links existing between them are identified.

2 REFERENCE FRAMEWORK

A research-oriented post-graduate program has as its essential aim to train researchers, and it consequently requires an in-depth knowledge of a specific subject (Angarita & Mateo, 2011). Its aim is therefore to provide training to future professionals in the research practice. These studies must pursue theoretical, methodological, and epistemological training and, accordingly, trainee researchers need to obtain skills and be able to "comprehensively explain and understand the problems of a complex and dynamic reality in its development" (Angarita & Mateo, 2011, pp. …

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