As online learning environments continue to evolve, both teachers and students need to adapt to make the most of opportunities afforded by these environments for teaching and learning. The focus of this paper is on the changing role undertaken by tutors in online learning environments. We present a brief review of the current perspectives on the roles and responsibilities suggested for the e-tutor for effective teaching, and then report on a study where roles of e-tutors in a large wholly online unit were examined. The study supports the view that although the role of the e-tutor is similar to that of the face to face tutor in some respects, there are sufficient differences to make e-tutoring challenging to those who have not undertaken such online activities previously. Ongoing professional development is required to meet the changing demands of the technological environment, as well as the changing needs of students.
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