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I also have very mixed feelings about requiring/incentivizing tutoring as a way to get people to go.  Due to the limits of our ever-shrinking budget, tutoring capacity is very much a zero sum game for us.  People who show up just to get the points are taking up seats that could go to students who actually want to be there.  Case in point:  For the past several years, students in biochemistry were given bonus points for attending at least one tutoring session before each of the four exams.  What we saw:  with almost no exceptions, biochem students attended tutoring EXACTLY four times per semester, and their tutors complained bitterly that students showed up for their tutoring sessions unprepared and it was difficult to get them to engage during the session.  I finally begged the biochem instructor to take the bonus points out of his syllabus (he had inherited the practice from the previous instructor and was very willing to be flexible- I wish I had asked much sooner!).  The result:  biochem tutoring fell by a whopping 92% in a single year.  This freed up enough tutoring capacity to allow students in paced general chemistry to sign up to receive weekly one-on-one tutoring, which everyone agrees is a much better use of tutors' time.

M

Michele Costabile Doney, MSEd
Director, Math & Science Resource Center
Adjunct Instructor, Department of Mathematics & Computer Science
Recording Secretary, Higher Education Officers Council
Secretary, Association for the Tutoring Profession
NCLCA Certified Learning Center Professional – Level One
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Room 01.94 NB
524 W 59 ST
New York, NY 10019
646-557-4595

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From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Rebecca Sue McGuire [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2015 11:35 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Academic Support Workshops

As Coordinator of Tutoring Services I also see some of these same issues tied to getting students into the Tutoring Center. We frequently hear from students once they have come to the center "Boy! I wish I had started doing this earlier". So why don't they come earlier? As Morgan stated, many students do not want to attend anything that would imply "I need help", even when it is obvious that they need help. We have bounced around the idea of other names than "tutoring" but have yet to come up with anything that the students feel would make a difference to prospective tutees.

As for mandating a tutoring session I have seen mixed results. Some students see it as a required part of an assignment and just do it. And yes, some of those students do see the benefits of this resource and do return. Then there are those students that come but have no intention of participating and resent the fact they have been required to set foot in the Tutoring Center. This is quite frustrating for the tutors and does not make for a pleasant atmosphere at all. There are also those students that do not show up in the Tutoring Center even when it is required. Is it worth the frustration and difficult sessions if only a few are going to see the benefit of this added resource? Absolutely! If we can get a handful of students to see the benefits of tutoring it is well worth it. I do ask my tutors to note a difficult session, particularly if it is because of a tutee's attitude. If the teacher that is requiring the session asks for a record of the sessions, this is passed on !
 as we see necessary.

One thing we are working on is to make the Tutoring Center and spaces more inviting. Anything from art work on the walls to a friendly and inviting face right as you walk in are being used. Any wonderful ideas and suggestions along this line are more than welcome.


R. Sue McGuire
Coordinator of Tutoring Services
Learning Specialist
Lees-McRae College

________________________________________
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Morgan Church <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, July 10, 2015 1:44 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Academic Support Workshops

Eric,

I am new to this field but recently diving into to the Academic Support Department. I have
found out form other colleges that many students do not like to attend things if they could
be classified as “We need help” workshops. I am not sure exactly how you have been
advertising for these classes but it could help to change the title to something that doesn’t
make students feel some of the stereotypes behind receiving help form academic support. I
might also help students attend if instructors could mandate that students attend at least
one workshop or provide extra credit for those who attend. This would encourage students
that excel to attend and possible help students that are struggling feel less threatened. It
might also be a more comfortable setting if you could house these workshops in student
friendly environment rather than a set classroom or tutoring center area. I know that others
have suggested to partner with the residence halls which is a great idea.

Sincerely

Morgan Church
Graduate Student, Appalachian State University
Caldwell County Family Literacy Instructor

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