Effective Online Tutoring (Online)

Course summary

Effective Online Tutoring (Online)


This tutored online studying and teaching course provides an introduction to teaching online courses – empowering prospective online tutors with the opportunity to develop the skills and experience they need to teach effectively online.

The target audience for this course is teachers delivering education online, academics looking to develop new skills for teaching online courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate-levels courses, and organisations involved in Continuing Professional Development who wish to improve the effectiveness of their online and distance learning courses.

The course lasts for eight weeks - see 'Programme Details' section below.

There is usually a maximum of 16 participants on this course.

The course is also suitable for individuals looking to deliver online training or those interested in facilitating online collaborative spaces.

All of the Department's Online Short Courses are developed by our Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning (TALL) unit. To learn more, please see the TALL website.

Unit 2, an Introduction to Teaching and Learning Online, is available as a free trial unit. To access the free online trial, visit Introduction to Teaching and Learning Online free trial here and log in using the "Create new account" link.

The course provides a practical introduction to the social, administrative and pedagogical techniques of teaching online. Focused specifically on teaching, rather than on designing or developing online courses, this course will introduce you to the role of the online tutor through selected reading, group discussions, role-playing, case studies and other activities.

This is a tutored online course - there is no requirement for attendance at the University of Oxford at any stage of the course.

In this course we will: explore the online learning environment; identify the responsibilities and practical skills required by online tutors; look at techniques for managing and facilitating online activities; and consider the challenges of teaching online.

Learning by doing is a key concept of this course, and you will have lots of opportunities to try out new skills and techniques and share your experience with other tutors.

This course will use Moodle as the learning management system and Adobe Connect software for synchronous activities (which enables the simultaneous delivery of voice, video and presentation documents to imitate a traditional tutorial environment).

The course will last for eight weeks with the course materials being made available to students for four extra weeks at the end of the course for revision, consolidation and reflection.

The study time of the course will be 35-56 hours to study the core content (5-8 hours per week for each of weeks 1-7) plus any additional time students spend reflecting on the course in weeks 7 and 8. Note that the course offers additional optional material during weeks 2-6 for those who have time for further study.

  • Introduction and learning outcomes: Each unit will start with a summary of the topics to be covered and will include a list of learning outcomes for the unit.
  • Topics: Three to six topics will be explored in each unit. Topics will include an overview of the subject with a range of activities (some individual and some group) to explore the topic in more detail.
  • Course study: The course discussion forums are open 24 hours per day during the course so you can access these and the course materials anytime. Much of the learning is done via the discussion boards where the tutor will post questions and you and the other students will support each other to provide solutions and answers.
  • Adobe Connect synchronous tutorials: This course includes synchronous tutorials using Adobe Connect. You will not be required to purchase this software.
  • Adobe Connect synchronous tutorial times: The only fixed times are the online synchronous tutorials using the Adobe Connect software where you will see and hear the course tutor and other students via webcam. Note that these tutorials are normally performed at a time which tries to accommodate all the various time zones of the students on the course. The tutor will try to vary the times throughout the course but you may have late or early sessions depending on your time zone. Later in the course you will also set up and run your own tutorials with other students on the course using this software and this can be done at a time to suit you. Click here for more information about the timing of the synchronous tutorials.
  • Summary and reflections: Each unit will include a summary providing an overview of the key points and will also include a 'reflections' discussion forum to encourage participants to reflect on their experiences and what they have learnt so far.
  • Further reading: Most units will conclude with a list of further reading.

There will be no formal assessment for this course.

In order to complete this course and receive a University of Oxford certificate of completion, you will need to actively take part in the group activities; complete the four tutor-marked assignments; give a presentation in one of the "Presenting and facilitating online" online tutorials held during unit 4 of the course; and participate in a minimum of two of the other online tutorials delivered during the course. You are expected to make at least one substantive posting to the majority of the discussion topics initiated by your tutor.

Programme details

  • Unit 1 - Tools for teaching online
  • Unit 2 - Introduction to teaching and learning online (unit 2 is available as a free trial unit)
  • Unit 3 - Communicating with students
  • Unit 4 - Effective teaching in the online environment (2 weeks study are allocated for this unit)
  • Unit 5 - Meeting the challenges of teaching online
  • Unit 6 - Post-course reflection and consolidation (2 weeks study are allocated for this unit)

The first week of the course will be self-paced (tutor support will be available if required during this week, week 0), weeks 1-6 will be tutor-led. The course tutor will also be available during week 7 to answer any outstanding questions from students, but there will be no formal course activities during this week and week 8 is an additional non-tutored week and is for final student interactions, reflection and consolidation.

The course remains open and the materials are available to you for four additional weeks after the end of the course.

Course Tutors

The course will be delivered by a dynamic, internationally-acclaimed tutor from the University of Oxford and industry, specialising in e-learning and the online environment.

Course delivery and numbers

The whole course is delivered online through the Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, Oxford and no attendance at Oxford University is required.

There are usually a maximum of 16 participants on this course.

IT Support

A few days before the start of the course you will receive a personal password so you can access all the course materials and discussion forums and contact your tutor. An IT helpdesk is available online through the TALL (Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning) unit at the University of Oxford.


Participants who satisfy the course requirements will receive a University of Oxford certificate of completion. The sample is an illustration only, and the wording will reflect the course and dates attended.

In order to complete this course and receive a certificate of completion, you will need to:

  • actively take part in the group activities
  • complete the four tutor-marked assignments
  • give a presentation in one of the "Presenting and facilitating online" online tutorials held during unit 4 of the course
  • participate in a minimum of two of the other online tutorials delivered during the course.

In addition, you are expected to make at least one substantive posting to the majority of the discussion topics initiated by your tutor.


Standard course fee: £845.00


We offer several payment options:

Pay immediately online by credit or debit card

Click the “book now” button on this webpage to pay online with a credit or debit card

Pay later with your preferred payment method

Send a completed application form to the course administrator by e-mail or post, and choose:

  • Request an invoice
  • BACS payment
  • Cheque payment
  • Credit or debit card payment. Please do not send card details via email


Fees include course materials, tuition, refreshments and lunches. The price does not include accommodation.

All courses are VAT exempt.


Kathlyn Bradshaw


Professor, School of Business, Algonquin College, Canada

Kathlyn Bradshaw, a professor in the School of Business at Algonquin College (Ottawa, Canada), teaches face-to-face, hybrid (blended), as well as fully online courses. Kathlyn also works closely with College faculty, staff and senior administrators on specialized departmental projects, including curriculum planning and design, course development, and proposal and report writing. She initiated a project at the college to connect successfully the 3D virtual world Second Life with a fully online Algonquin course, and gave a presentation about this project at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference held in Second Life. Currently, she is undertaking research related to the transference of active learning practices from face-to-face to eLearning, and gave a presentation on this topic at a conference at the University of Central Florida.

Kathlyn has a Master of Arts degree from Carleton University (2006), specializing in Applied Language Studies. Currently she is completing a Doctorate with the EdD program at University of Calgary. Her areas of interest include gaming in education, eLearning, technology in the classroom, as well as instructional analysis and design, specifically at the post-secondary level. She also teaches the Effective Online Tutoring course at the University of Oxford.

Course aims

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, participants should understand:

  • the main differences between teaching face-to-face and online
  • the characteristics of and constraints on online students and students’ expectations of their online tutor
  • the teaching, administrative and pastoral responsibilities of an online tutor
  • the difference between the following online communication tools – announcements, e-mail, discussion forums and online chat – and know which tool to use in which teaching situation. Participants will also be expected to know what the following tools are and what they can be used for: polls, blogs and wikis
  • how to host and facilitate online tutorials/meetings
  • the rules of online netiquette and how to communicate effectively online
  • the five stages of the Salmon 5-stage model; how student learning develops through the five stages of the model; and how online tutoring should be adapted as students progress
  • how to facilitate online discussions and manage the distinction between public and private communication
  • the social, practical and pedagogical challenges of teaching online; including handling inappropriate communication, maintaining student participation, managing group learning, keeping students ‘on-topic’, challenging able students and supporting weaker students, and using tutoring time effectively

By the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • confidently teach an online course in their subject area
  • use a range of online tools to teach online, and be confident choosing the right tool for the teaching situation
  • manage an online community and moderate asynchronous discussions using the techniques of weaving and summarising
  • maintain disciplined online discussions using a tone of communication that encourages student participation
  • give an effective online presentation using web conferencing tools
  • host and facilitate online tutorials/meetings specifically with Adobe Connect, and apply the same skills to similar web conferencing tools
  • communicate effectively online and provide feedback to students on online activities and assignments
  • manage private e-mail communication with students seeking help and advice
  • create an online presence and manage their tutoring time efficiently
  • reflect on the experience of being an online student and think about the key things they, as a tutor, can do to improve the learning experience of their online students
  • know where to seek further advice on teaching online



This is an eight-week online course

If you would like to discuss your application or any part of the application process before applying, please contact:
Course Administrator
Tel: +44 (0)1865 286958
Email: CPDPersonalDev@conted.ox.ac.uk

Level and demands

This course is aimed at individuals looking to learn the skills required to teach effectively online. No previous experience of teaching online is required. The target audience for the course is academics looking to develop new skills for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate-level courses online, and teachers delivering (or planning to deliver) education online.

The course is also suitable for individuals or organisations looking to deliver training online or those interested in facilitating online collaborative spaces.

Those taking this course in the past have come from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Ecuador, El Salvador, England, Fiji, Germany, Greece, Ghana, Grenada, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Portugal, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA and Wales.

Computing Skills

In order to participate in this course you must have basic IT skills and be confident using a computer for purposes such as word processing, preparing presentations, e-mail and searching the Internet.

This course involves using the synchronous online conferencing tool Adobe Connect Professional. Such software is more technically demanding on the IT infrastructure than many other e-learning tools, so you should be prepared to spend some time at the start of the course getting your PC set up to use this software. For example, you might need to install a browser plug-in; install new hardware, such as a webcam; or adjust the settings on your PC. An IT Helpdesk is available to provide advice if you encounter any technical difficulties.

Please also note that as part of this course you will be required to prepare some slides, using PowerPoint, and give a short online presentation. This course assumes that you are already familiar with using PowerPoint, so the study hours indicated above do not include any additional time you might need to learn how to use this software.

Those with limited IT skills may find that some extra time is required for setup at the beginning of the course (IT support is provided free of charge as part of the course).

Computer specifications

This course is delivered online; to participate you will need regular access to the Internet and a computer meeting our recommended Minimum computer specification.

Computer specification queries

If you have queries about your computer facilities, please contact the TALL (Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning) programme by email: tallithelp@conted.ox.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0)1865 280990.

If you intend to access the course on a public computer, such as in a public library or internet café, we recommend that you contact TALL before applying.