The E-Tutor in the New Normal: Analysing the Changing Roles of Tutoring in an ODeL Environment during and post Covid-19




open distance e-learning, e-tutorship, Covid-19 pandemic, exploratory qualitative research


This article reports on a study that explored how an open distance learning (ODL) institution is integrating its online processes in handling e-tutors’ experiences as they transition from face-to-face to blended facilitation. The study examined the following key issues: firstly, conceptions of how the university strategy transitions conventional tutors into its open distance e-learning (ODeL) system; secondly, conceptions of how e-tutors bridge the gap between facilitation and student support; and thirdly, how e-tutors are integrated in the ODeL institution’s system in relation to their personal academic development. The study adopted a qualitative exploratory approach, which relied on documentary sources and the experiences of university e-tutors at the Botswana Open University (BOU) captured through telephonic and online interviews. It is argued that the world is changing due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The changes have been fast, radical, demanding and uncertain. However, ODeL institutions can do more to confront these challenges. The study findings indicated that BOU has positively responded to these changes by relying on its capabilities and strengths. The article provides insights for improved access, success, tutor identities and development. The article ends with recommendations on what could be done to improve learning, teaching and practice as facilitated by e-tutors within ODeL institutions as they recover from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.


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Author Biographies

Deborah vimbwandu Sanoto, Botswana Open University

Dr Sanoto is a lecturer in the School of Education, Department of Teacher Education at Botswana Open University. Her current research interests include teacher in-service training, online teaching, learning and assessment, adult and distance education, and Literature in English and Linguistics. She holds a PhD in Curriculum Studies attained from University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and Master of Arts in English from University of Botswana. Dr Sanoto also has a Post Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance in Education attained from Botswana Open University. Deborah Sanoto is a recipient of the 2019 Thomas Pringle Award for one of her published educational articles.

Joseph A Kasozi, Botswana Open University

Dr Kasozi is a lecturer and Head of Department of Educational Management and Leadership at the Botswana Open University. He holds a PhD in Education from Fort Hare University in South Africa, Master of Education (Tertiary Didactics) and Post Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education from Unisa; Master of Science from Reading University and Bachelor of Science plus Post Graduate Diploma in Education from Makerere University in Uganda. In addition, Dr Kasozi has also a Post Graduate Diploma in Educational Management and Administration from the Institute of Development Management (Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland). His current research interests include adult and distance education, educational leadership, tertiary didactics, as well as quality assurance in higher education.

Dr Felix Omal, Botswana Open University

Dr Felix Omal holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, with a focus on the role of university councils in South Africa. He specialises in the politics of higher education at the Ali Mazrui Centre for Higher Education Studies. As universities both internationally and locally are becoming online and embracing the notions of ODEL as part of their key institutional strategies for successfully teaching, research, learning, leading, and managing, his current academic work focuses on developing cross-interactive critical African perspectives to ODEL in a globalising world.


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How to Cite

Sanoto, Deborah vimbwandu, Joseph A Kasozi, and Felix Omal. 2023. “The E-Tutor in the New Normal: Analysing the Changing Roles of Tutoring in an ODeL Environment During and Post Covid-19”. International Journal of Educational Development in Africa 8 (1):18 pages.



Received 2022-08-25
Accepted 2023-07-24
Published 2023-08-17