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An evaluation of a distributed learning environment (DLE) of a regional NSW university provided the context to examine the changing role of tutors in new learning environments. It examines how the tutors started to form a community of practice in the first year of operation. The distance from the main campus made communication difficult for the tutors, lecturers and students and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), at times, added to the challenge. This paper identifies ways that the tutor role changes in a DLE and how the development of a community of practice can support this change.