At Houston Community College (HCC), we are in our 13th year of offering online tutoring. For the first ten, we used a platform from a company called AskOnline. Three years ago, they sold the company to Upswing, which we currently use. Ours is an asynchronous program, with about 50 faculty-level tutors ($21.50/hour) all working from home on their own computers. Since it is asynch, I don't care if tutors are working at 2 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon, as long as submissions get back to students within 12-24 hours.

On average, we see about 2,000 submissions per MONTH and have done over a quarter million since inception. Almost all of our work is with papers. We offer what we call two-tiered tutoring for content courses. That is, if a student submits a paper to the HIST queue, it will be looked at for content by an historian. Then, it automatically goes to an ENGL tutor for grammar, structure, and organization. All tutors, content and ENGL, are vigilant about dealing with plagiarism. We offer tutoring in 25 named queues and have an Other one for everything else.

We have offered STEM tutoring in the past, but it has not been as successful as I would have hoped. The asynch format just doesn't work so well. In math, we ask students to send us a picture of how far they got on a problem and explain where they got stuck. The MATH tutors will work with that, develop an analogous problem using the same principals but different values, write a detailed step-by-step explanation of how to solve it, and then ask the student to apply those steps to the problem at hand and send that back. When we offered CHEM and PHYS, we used the same format.

Of course, HCC offers a huge f-2-f tutoring program as well. We are an urban college of 25+ campuses and about 70,000 students. The f-2-f and online tutoring programs are managed and budgeted separately because they are so different in scope and practice. Feel free to email me if you want additional info about the nuts and bolts of what we do.

Deborah Hardwick, Mgr.
Online Tutoring

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