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 Frederick
Academic Reinforcement Center
English Summer Institute

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 - 
> Brainfuse -
> NetTutor - (a part of
> Northwest eTutoring Consortium -
> SmartThinking - 
> 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
> (956) 447-1269
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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