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Donna -

First I will spout some ³wisdom²:

Iıve been involved with some form of online tutoring since 1996. Many
things have changed in terms of the affordability and availability of
technology, as well as how clients/tutors use technology to communicate.
It pays to be flexible, to take advantage of technologies that are readily
available without wedding yourself to one Œbig fixı or another; itıs also
a good idea ‹ at least in my opinion ‹ to integrate online tutoring into
your centerıs services rather than to see it as a separate program or
service. 

Also, while Iıve looked into various services for outsourcing online
tutoring, and there are certainly some good ones with impressive
statistics, I think you are doing the right thing by going in-house. You
may end up on the outsourcing path eventually, but I donıt think you can
know who at your school will use online tutoring, or how they will use it,
until you offer it to students and see what happens ‹ contracting with an
outside party to do that seems to be putting the cart before the horse.
Here at ETSU, online appointments have grown steadily in number over the
past 5 years since my center was created, but they still represent less
than 5% of all appointments. We can meet the demand, we have technology
adequate to the task, and it gives our tutors experience working/tutoring
in a new way and in a new environment ‹ this has proven helpful in their
professional development and job prospects down the road.

Now, to your questions:


*         Do any of you use your own tutors to do your college's online
tutoring?  If so, how have you structured your program?

Yes, tutors from our own learning center do the online tutoring. Online
tutoring is integrated within the larger tutoring program. In our
scheduling/reporting/online tutoring software (WCOnline), tutors are
Œtaggedı with online tutoring, so appointment makers or students can
search for tutors tagged with, for example, "Writing - Online Tutoring" or
"Online Tutoring - Math" (we tag in multiple ways just in case). On the
appointment form, you can indicate whether you want to meet the tutor
online or in the center. Students then come back to WCOnline at the
appointed time, go into their appointment reservation, follow a link to
³Join the online tutoring session,² and enter a world of magic and wonder,
er, a document sharing/whiteboard screen with a chat widget (there are
also audio and video options, which we rarely use because Š oh, so many
reasons ‹ they work, but clients donıt always have a good enough grasp on
technology to make them work well).

*         Do you have a special lab for the tutors to conduct the online
sessions?

No. Tutors involved in online sessions typically use the laptops in our
tutoring ³bullpen."

*         Do you allow them to tutor while they are at home or do they
have to be on campus during operating hours?  If allowed to tutor at home,
did you issue the tutor a laptop and webcam, if they did not have their
own?  Did your college provide tech support for the tutor's personal
computer if it stopped working properly?

In some of the earlier incarnations of online tutoring we did allow some
tutors to tutor from home, but HR policies have changed so that we canıt
allow any working from home, even for temp employees or GAıs. The only
exception ‹ and I saw that my colleague at Austin Peay has this, too ‹ is
during winter term when our physical campus is closed. During that time
period, the tutors who are working during winter term (and that has ranged
from 1-6, depending upon the courses offered, faculty interest, student
interest, etc.) do their tutoring online from home.

*         Do you have "drop in" tutoring by having virtual walk-in hours
where the tutor waits for someone to ask a question online?

Again, we tried that in an earlier incarnation of online tutoring, and it
was (mostly) a waste of time and money. Scheduled appointments are the way
to go, at least for us. However, during winter term only we still use an
asynchronous message board for quick questions and/or initial contacts. We
donıt get many questions, but sometimes the ones we get lead to full
sessions.

*         Is it made available 24/7?  Basically, if a tutor says they can
be available at midnight, do you allow that?

We only offer online tutoring during our regular center hours. Thereıs
more flexibility during winter term, but those tutors are expected to set
reasonable limits for themselves regarding when they will and wonıt tutor.

*         Did you hire student tutors or "professional" (with at least a
Bachelor's degree) tutors?

Yes and No. Our tutors range from undergrads to grad students to med
students to adjunct faculty tutoring part-time to retirees with advanced
degrees. Not all of them are assigned to be available as online tutors.
Typically, graduate students or other Œdegreedı tutors if they want to be
available to tutor online. I think that you have to have experience and a
solid grounding in tutoring pedagogy to be able to transfer your skills
effectively to the online environment. For instance, it is much easier for
a client to be passive (or appear passive) in an online environment. We
require some additional training units for those who agree to tutor online
to help them learn how to manage the situation, space, and dynamics of the
online session. But, after a year or a semester, undergraduate tutors are
sometimes approached to add online tutoring to their repertoire if we need
to offer more online time slots. So, while it is usually those with
bachelorıs degrees who tutor online, thatıs not a requirement.

Hope this helps!

Rob






-- 

Robert A. Russell
Director, Center for Academic Achievement
East Tennessee State University
423-439-7111/7115
[log in to unmask]
139 Sherrod Library
Info: http://www.etsu.edu/tutoring
Appointment: http://mywco.com/etsu


Go Green! Please do not print this e-mail unless it is completely
necessary.






On 3/31/15, 5:54 PM, "Danna Baggett" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Good afternoon!
>
>I have been tasked with finding out about other colleges' online tutoring
>programs.  I have found that most colleges use an outside source such as
>Smarthinking and Brainfuse instead of their own tutors.  We are leaning
>more towards using our own tutors instead of other company's tutors.  I
>have several questions, and was wondering if anyone could help me out.
>
>
>*         Do any of you use your own tutors to do your college's online
>tutoring?  If so, how have you structured your program?
>
>*         Do you have a special lab for the tutors to conduct the online
>sessions?
>
>*         Do you allow them to tutor while they are at home or do they
>have to be on campus during operating hours?  If allowed to tutor at
>home, did you issue the tutor a laptop and webcam, if they did not have
>their own?  Did your college provide tech support for the tutor's
>personal computer if it stopped working properly?
>
>*         Do you have "drop in" tutoring by having virtual walk-in hours
>where the tutor waits for someone to ask a question online?
>
>*         Is it made available 24/7?  Basically, if a tutor says they can
>be available at midnight, do you allow that?
>
>*         Did you hire student tutors or "professional" (with at least a
>Bachelor's degree) tutors?
>
>I am sure I am leaving out some other important questions. So, if there
>is any other important details that you think would be beneficial, please
>include them since you have gone through this process.
>
>As always,  thank you very much!
>
>
>
>Danna Baggett
>Apache Tutoring
>Tutoring Services, Director
>903-510-3114
>[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
>Vaughn Library, 2nd floor
>
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