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ERIC Number: EJ806022
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1492-3831
A Multi-Island Situation without the Ocean: Tutors' Perceptions about Working in Isolation from Colleagues
Fouche, Ilse
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, v7 n2 p1-21 Sep 2006
Distance education is generally seen as a very isolating experience for students, but one often forgets that it can be an equally isolating experience for teaching staff who oftentimes work in isolation from colleagues. This study examines the experiences of nine tutors at the Reading and Writing Centres of one of the 10 biggest universities in the world, "University of South Africa (Unisa)". The tutors work at different Regional Offices across South Africa. This study examines both quantitative data (closed-ended questions) and qualitative data (open-ended questions) obtained from questionnaires. This study seeks to determine to what extent administrative support, professional development support, and colleague support influence tutors' feelings of isolation. This paper takes the position that if feelings of isolation are curbed, staff retention will be improved, which means that the university can retain valuable experience. Findings show that contact with and collaboration between and among colleagues significantly decrease feelings of isolation. Other important methods of curbing isolation are regular training and continuous administrative support.
Athabasca University. 1200, 10011 - 109 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3S8, Canada. Tel: 780-421-2536; Fax: 780-497-3416; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa