Supervisory practices in the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) context: a review
Supervision in higher education is changing. The focus is not only on developing scholars for academic purposes, but on developing lifelong learning through research. Supervisors should provide supervision to ensure that postgraduates can become involved in knowledge creation in their own practice and work setting The web creates opportunities for students to embark on postgraduate studies at universities that offer distance education. Effective research supervision can be accomplished in an unsynchronised online environment, but the increase in student numbers, coupled with the diversity of students and supervisors pose unique challenges to postgraduate supervision. This article summarises a review of available literature that describe supervisory practices, in order to improve supervision and prepare supervisors for the challenging role of supervising students in an open distance learning (ODL) environment. Formal training that specifically focuses on the ODL environment is recommended. Bridging the generational gap of supervisors regarding the use of information technology in supervisory practices needs to be addressed. A virtual appreciative coaching and mentoring programme can be a solution for providing support to supervisors.
Keywords: Open distance learning, supervision, supervisors, supervision practices