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Hello Colleagues,

Here at Louisiana State University we've been using SMARTHINKING for
about a year and a half, and we and our students have been very pleased
with the results.  Since we started the service there have been about
1400 students who have used SMARTHINKING for a total of about 20,000
hours.  We bought in bulk, so we pay less than $40/hour.  We looked into
a lot of different options and decided to go with SMARTHINKING because
after participating in trial sessions with their tutors (which anyone
can do) it was clear that the tutors are very experienced teachers who
have been trained to help students learn how to learn the subject, and
not just provide answers to student's questions.  

At LSU we still have a large peer tutoring component to our tutorial
services (we hire about 50 peer tutors), and we will never stop doing
that.  However, there are several main reasons we went with
SMARTHINKING:

1.  Their tutors are either experienced teachers or faculty with the
depth of knowledge that allows them to apply a metacognitive approach to
their tutoring.  We found that no matter how good our tutors (and they
are great students who have excelled in the course they tutor), and no
matter how extensive out tutor training (which includes sessions on
learning how to learn, learning styles, the tutor cycle, etc.) the
students who have seen the material in class only one time did now have
the ability to intuit what a student's real problem was and lead them
through answering their own questions.
Also it seemed that we were getting too many great students who would
start tutoring, and then stop after a semester or two because of other
great job offers.  (We can only pay them about $6 - $7 per hour).  And
of course there were always the slackers whom we would terminate, but
not before they had done damage to the morale of our other tutors.  (We
have only walk-in tutoring.)

2.  LSU students needed tutoring in areas that we could not provide
tutors, such as economics, accounting, foreign language etc. 

3. The platform allows us to have a permanent record of all tutoring
sessions for future analysis.

4.  The support provided to us by SMARTHINKING has been outstanding.
Every time we've had a problem their tech folks and administrators were
there to help in a friendly, brain-storming, problem solving manner.

5.  Our tutoring centers are open only during the day, and SMARTHNKING
allows 24 hour access.

I'm not posting this to suggest the you go with SMARTHINKING (or any
other specific support system), but I wanted to alert you to our
experience. 

I'm attaching a PP that I made at a conference last spring that
summarized our experience.  I for some reason you cannot open the PP
please let me know and I will post it to our CAS website.

Best regards to all,
Saundra 



Saundra McGuire, Ph.D. 
Director, Center for Academic Success
Adj. Professor, Department of Chemistry
B31 Coates Hall
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803
225.578.6749 phone
225.578.2696 fax
www.cas.lsu.edu
Saundra Y. McGuire, Ph.D.
-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Hazzard, Nancy
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 3:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Online tutoring program usage

I for one greatly appreciate the CEO's desire and willingness to clarify
information re: his product, while balancing that with logical
recommendations for making a sound decision.  It did not "read" to me
that he was strongly advocating for his product as much as providing
accurate info and sound advice that would apply to our considering ANY
online product intended to provide student learning assistance.

Years ago, I visited with Burck Smith in his D.C. office when I was
there for other reasons.  He was both gracious and interested in having
what was right for our students accomplished.  We did not go with
SmartThinking or any other external online product primarily due to
internal faculty 'ownership' concerns.  He was not at all pushy, but
readily available to talk over possibilities.  

I'm no longer connected with the "tutoring business", but thought I'd
share this historical perspective.  He's been in the role and his
company has been around for quite some time.  And it's apparent to me
that they want to provide the best product/service possible.

Nancy Hazzard
Student Services
Onondaga Community College
Syracuse, NY  13215

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Vick, Tim
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 3:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Online tutoring program usage

I, too, was just now contacted by a SMARTHINKING sales rep after posting
here today.

Tim
*****************************************
Tim Vick
Director, Academic Resource Centers
Macon State College
100 College Station Drive, L-136
Macon, GA 31206
Phone: 478.471.2057
[log in to unmask]
http://www.maconstate.edu/arc/
*****************************************

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Golson, Martin
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 3:14 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Online tutoring program usage

Personally, I am not concerned about the CEO being on this listserv. At
least he has the integrity to include his title along with is name so
that we can see that the post is coming from a biased source.

Yes, I have been contacted by a sales rep. from Smarthinking immediately
after one of my postings, but I also realize that by being on the
listserv, Smarthinking is able to see our concerns and improve their
service.

Martin Golson
Instructional Specialist
Austin Peay State University

(931) 221-6553




-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Rhodes, Grace
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 1:53 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Online tutoring program usage

Why does a CEO from Smarthinking "lurk" on this Learning Centers
listserv?  This is bothering me.  Are we just perceived as a big
potential market for making company profits?  Of course, they'll claim
they have students' interests in mind, and maybe they do, but underlying
that, they have a product to sell, and therefore, they have motivation
to influence potential buyers to their perspective.

I like reading about educators' best practices, concerns, suggestions,
and the like.  But I have a hard time reading a comment made by a
company executive to a potential market  and believing that comment
could be objective.  I'm on the writing centers international listserv,
too, and there's regular discussion about online tutoring--both
homegrown and outsourced.  I appreciate hearing others' experiences with
both, and if I want to learn more about any of them, I can go directly
to the source; they don't need to come to me like a vendor calling my
home.

Grace Rhodes
Director, The Writing & Learning Studio
Shoreline Community College

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 9:37 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Online tutoring program usage

Hello List --

While I think it would be inappropriate for me to argue forcefully for
SMARTHINKING's approach, I do want to correct the impression left by the
previous comment. Schools may purchase SMARTHINKING on a per-student
basis or on a per-hour basis. The numbers listed below reflect a
per-student purchase where, for whatever reason, the school did not use
the time they purchased. The school could have chosen a per-hour model
where the school could have only paid for what they used. 

Also, while I'm at it, additional factors that should influence a
decision are the total cost of providing an hour of tutoring
(recruitment, training, benefits, non-use of tutors, technology,
management, etc...) and the impact of service levels on student success
(longer or inconsistent wait times and essay turnaround times).

Sincerely,

Burck Smith
CEO, SMARTHINKING


>From: "Golson, Martin" <[log in to unmask]>
>Date: 2008/03/25 Tue AM 10:58:16 CDT
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: Online tutoring program usage

>When we used Smarthinking, our students primarily used their writing 
>support. Their services only cost us about $2.80 per student per year, 
>but based on utilization we were paying $96 per hour for the actual 
>service provided.
>
>Martin Golson
>Instructional Specialist
>Austin Peay State University
>
>(931) 221-6553
>
>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals 
>[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Shevawn Eaton
>Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:50 AM
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Online tutoring program usage
>
>While we are on the subject, I have a couple of other questions.
>
> I'm wondering if you all are willing to share how much on-line 
>tutoring is used.  Maybe some contact numbers for the academic year?  
>Do you have an idea of the per capita expense of these?
>
>Also, can you share how much you use them for math or other 
>computational courses?  And what systems you are most satisfied with 
>for that function.
>
>Thanks.
>
>Shevawn Eaton, Ph.D.
>Director, ACCESS/ESP
>Northern Illinois University
>DeKalb, IL 60115
>PH: (815) 753-0581
>www.tutoring.niu.edu
>
>FAX: (815) 753-4115
>
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