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Subject:

Re: online tutoring - textbook publishers / college tutoring centers

From:

"Lee, Elizabeth" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 5 May 2004 11:29:32 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (113 lines)

Thanks, Ken, for posting your invitation to comment.

There is a part of me that screams that we will never be replaced and
the other that jeers back with the inevitable.  So if I sound split,
perhaps I am. And with that I return to what I see happening--I hope.
There is the brave part of me that welcomes the online tutoring that
comes with publishers like Houghton Mifflin and others.  We are offering
more opportunities for students to access academic assistance in the
likelihood that the online will improve individual learning.  In short,
it is just another opportunity to learn. We are providing alternatives
for our students. The publishers with their online tutoring service
address the needs of students who cannot make it to the center during
operating hours or who cannot find their way to the center because of
disinterest until too late or because of the fear of being labeled or
the shame of not knowing. So, if we are able to meet the academic needs
of students through greater access to tutoring, I think it a good thing.
I also think it is more of a good thing for the independent learner.

On the other hand, should institutions decide to leave tutoring up to
the online services, what becomes of the the interactive, personal
learning environment involving two or more individuals that I hear and
see this very day in the center?  When a student connects online
tutoring, I see silence and hear the clicking of keys as she sends the
message and then she waits, watching the screen intently until her time
to respond. The online session seems very quiet and solitary and sends
me back to the romantic view of the lone, brave individual with book and
pen, mastering all.  Who teaches students how to learn, when to learn,
what to learn, and how much to learn?  Who will interview them, and by
listening carefully, notice the clues that indicate the students'
learning needs when they cannot articulate these needs themselves
without the assistance of those of us who work and teach in centers.

When students come to the center seeking appointments with tutors in
subjects I cannot provide, I point them to SMARTHINKING. Many gravitate
nicely to the online version; more return again asking for the personal,
in person tutor. Some indicate they want nothing but the individual
tutor they know by name and see in the flesh. In the fall, the center
here at BRCC provided tutoring to 310 individuals; 92 individuals at
BRCC used SMARTHINKING. Some of these who used SMARTHINKING also came to
tutors in the center.

Nearly fifty percent of the population is venturing beyond the walls of
high schools to post-secondary institutions of learning. Their needs are
great and I do not see access to online tutoring alone as meeting those
needs for any but the few of those students. I do see online tutoring as
a supplement,not a substitute, to the services we provide. Also,
individual institutional contracts for online tutoring (SMARTHINKING)are
extremely expensive in light of the $5.65 an hour we pay our tutors.
The budget amount for 500 hours online equals my total tutoring budget.
Unless our institutions wish to become revolving doors for the coming
and the going of lost students, there will always be a place for what we
do. Or so I hope and believe. There are definitely enough students for
both the traditional personal interaction of tutoring and the online
tutoring.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth P. Lee, Associate Dean
Academic Learning Center
Baton Rouge Community College
5310 Florida Blvd.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70806
225.216.8300 or 225.216.8205
225.216.6837 Fax



-----Original Message-----
From: Foster, Ken [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 2004 8:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: online tutoring - textbook publishers / college tutoring
centers


Dear Colleagues,
=20
Recently there have been several discussions on online tutoring.
Textbook publishers are now offering online tutoring as a part of a
package deal when a particular textbook is adopted. Most of the
mathematics textbook publishers that supply the textbooks used at our
college are providing this service. =20 =20 Have any of you gotten
feedback from students who have used this type of online tutoring?  Do
you think colleges will begin using this option in lieu of Tutoring
Centers due to the budget crisis most colleges are now experiencing?
Will online tutoring through a publisher complement or compete with
online tutoring offered through a college?  Could online tutoring
eventually be relegated to textbook publishers with colleges handling
face-to-face tutoring only? =20 I would appreciate your input on any of
the above questions or any comments you have related to this topic. =20
Thanks, =20 Ken Foster Laboratory Technician, Academic Support Center -
Macon Southwest Tennessee Community College =20

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