Could the evaluation of written essays affect tutor-student communication in distance learning? Perceptions of Open University postgraduate students



The objective of this paper, which makes use of the concepts of framing from Bernstein’s theory, and habitus from Bourdieu’s theory, is the sociological approach to, and analysis of, the perceptions of postgraduate students of the Hellenic Open University, regarding the extent to which the quality of the professors’ letters of response, which evaluate their written essays, affect the communication between them. Fifty-one students, who were attended the Module “Open Distance Learning” during the spring semester of the 2012-2013 academic year, took part in the research.  The main results of the research showed that with regard to the correction of their written essays by the teacher, the students want: a) communication to take place with the use of the friendly plural form, which reproduces the socially acceptable habitus in Greece for the polite interaction of adults in the educational field; b) the adoption of a friendly and familiar tone of writing in the letters of response, which reveals the tutors’ understanding and acceptance of the peculiarities of the students (weak framing of hierarchical rules); and c) the application of strong framing of Instructional Discourse on evaluation where the tutor replies with clarity and in detail to each student, making the evaluation criteria with which his written essay was corrected explicit. Evaluating the written essays in this manner creates the  necessaryconditions for positive relations between tutor and students (weak framing of Regulative Discourse) which contributes to the promotion of communication between them.


Written essays, Open University, habitus, framing, evaluation

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Educational Journal of the University of Patras UNESCO Chair | ISSN: 2241-9152 | Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education University of Patras

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