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What is an online tutorial?

An online tutorial is a self study activity designed to teach a specific learning outcome. They are usually delivered via Blackboard but can also be made available via the Internet or on a DVD. There are two main types of online tutorial which we refer to as Recorded and Interactive.

Recorded tutorials are video or screencast recordings, typically of a subject expert presenting information and ideas or giving a demonstration. Click here to see an example of a screencast created using Camtasia. The tutorial is designed to teach University of Bristol (UoB) members to how use the Library Catalogue to make a reservation. It consists of an audio narration over PowerPoint slides and a demonstration of the Catalogue software.

Interactive tutorials are a structured collection of navigable web pages. Individual pages can contain any combination of text, images, audio, video, self test questions and other interactive activities. Interactive tutorials can also contain screencasts. Click here to see an example of an interactive tutorial created using software Wimba Create.

Both types of online tutorial can be provided as supplementary learning materials or as an integral part of a core activity, e.g. a prerequisite to attend a time tabled seminar. Because of the benefits they offer (see next section), online tutorials are becoming common place within both programmes of learning and on a number of support service web sites.

We will be utilising and discussing interactive tutorials within this unit.

Question mark photo by Leo Reynolds. Licensed under Creative Commons.