Nuts And Bolts of Online Tutoring


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Nuts and Bolts of setting up an online tutoring program. Presentation was given at the ITC eLearning Conference in Portland, OR on February 24, 2009.

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  • Nuts And Bolts of Online Tutoring

    1. 1. Gwen Braun and Leanne Frost Academic Support Center Tim Tirrell Director of eLearning Montana State University Billings
    2. 3. <ul><li>4-year university located in Billings, MT </li></ul><ul><li>2-year College of Technology campus </li></ul><ul><li>Approximately 4,800 students </li></ul><ul><li>One of four Montana State University campuses </li></ul>
    3. 4. <ul><ul><li>Recruits, trains and manages staff, including: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1 director & 1 assistant director, who also teach and tutor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>An additional 5 FT and 15 PT instructors, who also tutor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>45 tutors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two part-time administrative assistants </li></ul></ul>
    4. 5. <ul><li>Equips, manages and staffs a main campus Learning Lab with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>40 computers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>14 tutoring stations </li></ul></ul>Serves nearly 600 students per day
    5. 6. <ul><li>Equips, manages and staffs a COT Learning Lab with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14 computers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 tutoring stations </li></ul></ul>Serves nearly 125 students per day
    6. 8. <ul><li>75% of incoming freshman are developmental </li></ul><ul><li>89% are commuter students </li></ul><ul><li>Average age of student is 24 </li></ul><ul><li>35% of students are 25 or older </li></ul><ul><li>Retention data on our 2007-2008 first-year to second-year students show: </li></ul><ul><li>Students taking a combination of online and on-campus classes are the most successful. </li></ul><ul><li>Students taking only online classes are the least successful. </li></ul>
    7. 9. <ul><ul><li>Increase access for the online students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expand hours for all students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase access to high demand areas with low tutor availability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep up with the advancing use of technology in education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meet goals set by administration </li></ul></ul>
    8. 11. <ul><ul><li>Implementation Time Schedule </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Set an approximate start date </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Obtain approvals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Research options available </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Purchase software and equipment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hire and train personnel </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Publicize services </li></ul></ul></ul>
    9. 12. <ul><ul><li>Subjects being tutored </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are the needs of the subject areas based on the needs of the students? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Synchronous or Asynchronous or both? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are your resources – enough staff? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outsourcing/In-house </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A 2 nd party virtual learning assistance center? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A regional consortium? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In-house online tutoring center? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to ALL Learners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Online/On campus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Traditional/Non-traditional </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple learning styles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ADA accessible </li></ul></ul></ul>
    10. 13. <ul><ul><li>Technology Available/Needed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Laptop </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Desktop </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tablets </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Headphones </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Microphones </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tutorials </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>PowerPoint slides </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Text/picture/word files </li></ul></ul></ul>
    11. 14. <ul><ul><li>Operational Expenses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Software </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hardware </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Salaries </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Departmentally funded </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grant funded </li></ul></ul></ul>
    12. 15. <ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scheduling (hours/availability) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What are the hours? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Who is trained and available to tutor? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gaining buy-in/support across campus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Articles in the campus publications </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Notices from instructors in the online courses </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A link on the campus webpage home page </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A link on the student services webpage </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrations to faculty </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Workshops for students </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>A “Grand Opening”! </li></ul></ul></ul>
    13. 16. <ul><ul><li>Oversight (administration--who is responsible for what?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Purchasing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scheduling </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Monitoring </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Troubleshooting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Equipment Security </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tracking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Saving sessions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creating log sheets </li></ul></ul></ul>
    14. 17. <ul><li>Money </li></ul><ul><li>Student comfort levels </li></ul><ul><li>Limited student access to technology </li></ul><ul><li>Oversight </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of tutor training </li></ul><ul><li>Territoriality </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty hesitancy </li></ul><ul><li>Fear of the unknown </li></ul><ul><li>Technophobia </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of awareness of services/program </li></ul>
    15. 18. <ul><li>All students should have access to support services. </li></ul><ul><li>Online tutoring is a new way of communicating with students at a distance. </li></ul><ul><li>Not everyone should use or work in online tutoring. Training goes a long way – both for tutors and students. </li></ul><ul><li>Students take an active role in the tutoring session. </li></ul><ul><li>Verification of tutor knowledge is possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility and the ability to adapt are necessary. </li></ul><ul><li>Buy-in from across campus helps ensure success. </li></ul>
    16. 19. <ul><li>Plan ahead, but be willing to adapt. </li></ul><ul><li>Take the time to “play” with hardware and programs before making a final decision. </li></ul><ul><li>Work with disability services to ensure access for all! </li></ul><ul><li>Early decisions made in concert with all stakeholders -- faculty, administrators, students, and tutors -- increase the potential for a successful program. </li></ul><ul><li>Respond to tutor and student needs. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide plenty of training. </li></ul><ul><li>Assess and adapt. </li></ul>
    17. 21. <ul><li>Tim Tirrell, Director of eLearning Operations </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(406) 247-5776 </li></ul><ul><li>Gwen Braun, Director of Academic Support Services </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(406) 657-1714 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Leanne Frost, Assistant Director of Academic Support Services </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(406) 247-3022 </li></ul>
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