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I think there is more to the story of student reluctance to use online support. From what I have seen, the further removed students are from the professor, the more they desire to have human contact for their support. Other than those students who cannot visit us because of distance from campus, it seems like online students are more likely to seek face-to-face meetings with the tutor than students who attend traditional courses.


Martin Golson
Director, Academic Support
Austin Peay State University

(931) 221-6553



-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sara Weertz
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2012 1:42 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: A tale of synchronous tutoring (or the moral of assuming)

Kathryn,

I am so glad you said that! ("The biggest challenge is to get students to use online help.") In a separate email to Peter Pohler, I mentioned how much time and effort we put into selecting the online tutoring software, basing our choice on the groovy whiteboard, web share capabilities, and full audio/visual recording features. We figured the online course boom would carry to online academic support, focusing our attention on the synchronous aspect of online tutoring. Luckily for us, once settled on Bb Collaborate web-conferencing software, the collective mindset began the process of building an online portal that provided access to both synchronous and asynchronous tutoring (Ask a Tutor/Post a Question, FAQs, e-submissions, and a online resources library). Never in our wildest dreams did we expect to see such disparity between the two. This past academic year, our online tutoring site (SMART Online) had over 3000 users. Only 10% of that number were active in live online sessions.

In translating this data, we also did a comparative analysis of our tutor center (SMART Tutoring). It was like one of those "I could have had a V8!" moments. Attendance in our tutor center is good, not great. We constantly struggle to build a clientele with each new academic year bringing a new cohort of faculty and students who bring with them a stigma and negative image of tutoring. If traditional (face-to-face) tutoring is a hard sell, why on earth did we think online tutoring would be any different? 

Interestingly as well, our traditional tutoring numbers increased along with the advent of online tutoring. Our interpretation of this data indicates the likelihood of many online users being the very same students who, for whatever reason, refuse or decline to visit the tutor center. The online environment is a safe place to seek help, and once the students see how relatively painless it is to ask for help, they venture in to see us face-to-face. 

I recently had a long conversation with Karen Boyd, Ohio eTutoring Collaborative (20 institutions/over 100,000 students). Karen said e-submissions alone account for 60% of their online business. 

sal
 

Sara Weertz
Executive Director, First Year Experience Program Angelo State University Member, Texas Tech University System ASU Station #11004 San Angelo, TX  76909
(325) 942-2595  X-387
[log in to unmask]


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-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kathryn Van Wagoner
Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2012 6:36 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Online Tutoring Programs/Systems

We used NetTutor at the UVU Math Lab for over 10 years.  I can second Courtney's endorsement. The biggest challenge is to get students to use online help.

Kathy Van Wagoner
Director, Developmental Math
Weber State University

On 5/6/12 5:58 PM, "Courtney Frederick" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Hi Peter,
>This year we've begun using NetTutor, and it's working well for us so 
>far. We've integrated it with our BlackBoard so it automatically shows 
>up on every student's Bb page. It's a little clunky getting students 
>signed in, but that's our fault, not NetTutor's. By going through Bb we 
>can capture every student's use & keep non-students from logging in 
>without pass codes.
>
>NT has a great whiteboard interface that has specialized tools for 
>math, chem & writing. We've expanded their use to include physics & 
>accounting (we use the math tools), biology (anatomy & physiology, 
>using the chem tools), and philosophy (which has essentially been 
>writing). You can offer both drop-in & scheduled sessions, 1-on-1 or 
>groups, Q&A drop-offs, or even audio/visual sessions. We even purchased 
>a few Bamboo tablets, which make using the whiteboard a cinch.
>
>We've chosen to do all the tutoring ourselves, but NT does offer their 
>own cadre of great tutors, who are really open to following your unique 
>policies/procedures & who are up on all the now-standard techniques of 
>tutoring (i.e., they won't do students' homework for them, Socratic 
>method, etc.). They even follow NTA's ethics. Their tutors can do all 
>the online tutoring for you, your tutors can use their platform to do 
>the tutoring themselves, or you can opt for a hybrid, which I suspect 
>in the coming year we may do, so we can offer online tutoring late 
>nights & weekends, when my staff can't do it.
>
>There is a bit of a learning curve, but then again I have yet to see 
>one service where there isn't. You have to build a culture of online 
>learning, and that takes a little time.
>
>But the two things that sold me on NetTutor above the others I surveyed 
>(including a few you have listed) was (1) they will be iPad compatible 
>by the end of this year (our freshmen are given iPads in their 1st 
>semester), and (2) they have THE BEST customer service. Their team is 
>very responsive & has worked with us patiently, helping us to determine 
>what works best for our tutors & students. In fact, just recently out 
>NT sales rep came and spent an afternoon with us to determine how they 
>might better serve us.
>
>We're still learning, but in this 1st year we've already begun to see 
>about 10% of our sessions online, and I suspect it will only grow from 
>there. One of my biggest fears about online tutoring was that it might 
>serve to "teach" students that tutoring is only useful for last-minute 
>questions and fix-it situations (we're really adamant about building 
>relationships & addressing learning issues). However, using NT, the 
>only difference in our sessions has been location & time--much more 
>convenient for both students & tutors. The majority of the sessions 
>we've held online this semester have been recurring, telling me that 
>students still benefit from ongoing sessions, but that a fixed location is not necessary.
>Good luck,
>Courtney
>
>Courtney Frederick
>Director
>Academic Reinforcement Center
>English Summer Institute
>LIU-Brooklyn
>
>On May 5, 2012, at 12:00 PM, "Peter Pohler"
><[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Hello All,
>> 
>> I've been sifting through the different e-mail posts regarding online 
>> tutoring, but I'd like to find a little more on the different online 
>> tutoring systems used by colleges.  Our college is currently using 
>> SmartThinking, but we're trying to explore other options (and costs.) 
>> I'm trying to see if I can come up with a list of these companies so 
>> it's a little easier for me (and hopefully others) to wrap my brain 
>> around it.  Here's the ones I could find on the list:
>> 
>> AskOnline - http://www.askonline.org
>> Brainfuse - http://www.brainfuse.org
>> NetTutor - www.nettutor.com (a part of http://www.link-systems.com) 
>> Northwest eTutoring Consortium - http://www.etutoring.com 
>> SmartThinking - http://www.smarthinking.com
>> 
>> I am by no means assuming this is a complete list of companies, and 
>> any input regarding Online Tutoring systems would be appreciated.  
>> Along with these outside systems, is anyone working on an "in-house" system?
>> I'd love to hear how you are integrating with your college's systems 
>> (Blackboard, Banner, Sunguard, etc.)
>> 
>> Have a great day,
>> 
>> Peter Pohler
>> CLE Technician--Mid-Valley
>> Center for Learning Excellence
>> http://academicaffairs.southtexascollege.edu/cle/index.html
>> (956) 447-1269
>> 
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