Evaluating The Implementation Of The Online Tutorial For The Universitas Terbuka Distance Learning Bachelor Degree Program In Indonesia
Keywordsdistance education, distance learning, evaluation, Indonesia, online tutorial, Universitas Terbuka
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AbstractUniversitas Terbuka (UT), the Indonesia Open University and the 45th state university in the country, is the only one that uses distance learning as its sole mode of delivery and instruction. Although UT has operated for 28 years, unlike face-to-face classroom-based education, distance education has not been considered as a fully legitimate delivery system in Indonesia. In the mindset of the people of Indonesia, "education" necessarily implies a conventional classroom environment; and, as a consequence, the relatively new format of distance learning does not register as "real education." Yet under the pressure of increased demand for higher education, the participation in distance learning programs at UT has been rapidly growing. However, that popularity also poses a problem. Indonesian students have difficulty with distance formats given lack of familiarity with the requirements of independent study and a low level of current aptitude for reading on their own. UT has therefore developed tutorial programs to assist distance learning students with overcoming the problem and reviewing their material. Most are offered face-to-face but are only accessible to the minority of students living near centers where such instruction can be delivered. With the spread of internet access in the country, online tutoring programs have been established but have been little evaluated. This study was devoted to assessing the quality of implementation and effectiveness of online course tutoring for Bachelor's degree distance learning students enrolled in UT. Results indicate that despite difficulties of administration, the program is relatively well implemented and in the majority of classes, online tutorial participants score better than classmates who do not participate in the tutorial on final exams. Overall, therefore, the online tutorial program appears to be performing a real service but to be in need of better specification, some modification of methods and closer quality control. A number of recommendations for greater effectiveness and better service to UT students are offered in the last section of the text.