Choices of approaches in e-moderation: Conclusions from a grounded theory study
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Much has been published in recent years about the desirable nature of facilitated interactions in online discussions for educational purposes. However, little has been reported about the roles that tutors actually adopt in real-life learning contexts, how these range between ‘tutoring, ‘managing’ and ‘facilitating’, and what the distinctions between these three roles may be. In this article choices of priorities in e-moderation, which were made in three naturalistic (real-life) case studies by three higher education practitioners, are identified and discussed. These contrasting approaches were captured and analysed using grounded theory principles. The article also discusses the occasions when the facilitation was less effective than might have been desired. It finally summarizes the potential of various approaches within e-moderation – and some of the attendant risks. The finding is that principles and practices developed for face-to-face support of student-directed learning were found equally applicable in e-moderated online group work, despite several significant differences between the two types of setting.