Print

Print


Dear Mike,

I agree with Sandie--an online tutoring coordinator should indeed have
consistent and clear written communication skills as well as experience with
Excel and other such programs.  Depending on how involved the technology
department is, web design and publishing skills may also be important (as
Sandie mentions).  Given my experience with online education, I have a
number of additional suggestions:

Education
1.      Advanced degree in field of education or related field with emphasis
on technology and learning.

Experience
1.      It might also be extremely beneficial for an online tutoring
coordinator to have broad knowledge about the field of Internet-based
education: the theoretical foundations of online learning as well as the
practical implications of developing and delivering such programs.  Given
that online tutoring comes in many different shapes and sizes (including,
real-time, near-real-time, asynchronous, drop-in, pre-scheduled, one-to-one,
small group etc. etc.), experience with a variety of different modalities
and an understanding of the ways in which modality influences pedagogy,
seems essential.

2.      Along these lines, a coordinator should have experience with or be
interested in developing and implementing online tutoring training programs
that a) identify some of the distinctive qualities of online tutoring, and
b) allow tutors to develop a practical pedagogy of their own in online
contexts.  Specifically, we've found that online tutoring requires very
different strategies and skills than those employed in face-2-face tutoring
sessions.  As such, new tutors need to train and practice in online
environments before they are comfortable working with students.  The
coordinator needs to be able to design a program in which tutors hone these
skills through an iterative and self-reflective process of development.

3.      Given the newness of the field and our understanding of the
phenomenon of online tutoring, the coordinator also needs to explore
tutoring processes and student learning and then adapt training and on-going
tutor development accordingly.

4.      Depending on how your program is organized, it may be the case that
the coordinator will have to manage tutors online and from a distance.
Needless to say, issues such as scheduling, pay, evaluations, and
accountability etc. are sometimes more challenging when tutors don't meet in
or work from the same physical location.  Experience with creating a high
support, high expectation community of tutors via the Internet is of utmost
importance.

Personal Qualities
1.      Flexibility/patience with technology: inevitably, problems with
technology will arise.  Sometimes, servers will be down, platforms won't be
working properly, tutors and students will get disconnected in the middle of
synchronous sessions etc.  To a certain extent, the coordinator needs to be
able to trouble shoot these situations.  Perhaps, more importantly though,
the coordinator needs to be able to cope (sometime very creatively!) with
these situations even if there are no apparent or immediate answers.
Moreover, the coordinator also needs to be able to calm frustrated tutor and
student nerves at such times.

2.      Empathy: in our experience, we've found that both tutors and
students (no matter how technologically savvy) have some anxiety about using
technology to facilitate learning interactions.  A coordinator needs to
address these problems in a highly supportive way.  Creating 'orientation'
programs for students and tutors that address the affective concerns of
using technology may be important.


My final comment is a bit obvious - but I'll mention it anyway... The
coordinator needs to have an intrinsic interest in Internet-based education.
In our experience, we've found that individuals can only assess their
interest after they've had extensive experience working in this medium.
Some individuals who expect to thrive online find they do not, while others
who begin with skepticism, find they do thrive in this online medium.
Hence, it's of extreme importance that a coordinator is broadly supportive
of this medium as a supplemental way of making learning accessible to
students.

I'd be happy to address any other issues with you on the list or privately.

Warmest Regards,
Christa

Christa Ehmann
Vice President of Education
SMARTHINKING
1819 Pennsylvania Avenue NW  Suite 810
Washington, DC  20006
phone: 202-543-5034 ext. 205
fax: 202-543-5589
[log in to unmask]



-----Original Message-----
From: Sandie Miller [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2001 1:16 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: On-line tutoring coordinator


Hi Mike,

An on-line tutoring coordinator should have excellent written communication
skills because that is the medium which he/she will use the most when
communicating with tutors and tutees. Another important item is to find
someone
who is very responsive and can also communicate that through the written
word.
This person will often be the first contact for the on-line student
requesting a
tutor. The response should be warm, immediate, and to the point. Asking a
lot
more questions puts students off. Make your request form get those answers
ahead
of time so that when the human connection is made, it's immediately
workable.

If your tutor requests are made through a website, it is appropriate that
they
have some web design and publishing skills (to keep it updated) and/or at
least
know the mechanics of using it. It is also helpful if they know Excel in
which
to keep the statistics for you. You'll want to keep track of usage because
it
will probably take off. Ours did. We also use an Excel spreadsheet to keep
track
of the on-line tutors' hours. The tutors can just e-mail it in for the pay
period.

Hope this helps.

Take care,
Sandie Miller,
Director LACs & Support Services,
Atlantic Cape Community College

"Prutsman, Michael" wrote:

> All,
>         We are trying to write a job description/announcement for a
> Coordinator of On-Line Tutoring.  We are looking for any input from those
of
> you who might have done something similar in the past.  Hoping for input
as
> to the education/experience/personal qualities that we should be looking
for
> in a candidate.  Any help will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
> Mike
>
> Michael J. Prutsman
> On-Line Peer Tutoring Coordinator
> Hunter Student Development Center
> Alfred State College
> Alfred, NY 14802
> phone: (607) 587-4120
> fax: (607) 587-3210
> e-mail: [log in to unmask]