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June 6, 2013

TASC makes tutoring convenient online

By Doug Vehovec

Offered free of charge to universities and students, eTutoring allows undergraduate students at participating institutions to interact with trained tutors in accounting, anatomy, biology, chemistry, math, physiology, statistics, and writing.  Looking ahead, eTutoring works to add nursing to those academic areas.

“There are several schools that feel it would be beneficial,” said Dustin Reed, Program Coordinator at the Tutoring and Academic Success Center, or TASC.  “But it’s in the very early stages.  That will be the next new thing that will be coming.”

It began with five pilot schools in 2009.  By spring of 2011, the number had reached 21 colleges.  Now, over 40 public and independent Ohio colleges and universities participate in the Ohio eTutoring Collaborative. The goal of the program is to involve all 107 Ohio Institutions of Higher Education.  This would provide eTutoring services to more than 600,000 students in Ohio.

Funded by eStudent Services, the Collaborative is a division of the Ohio Technology Consortium, a division of the Ohio Board of Regents.

There are three types of support that students can get through eTutoring.  Live tutoring is available via eChat, a fully interactive online environment for one-on-one sessions.  Students can also leave subject specific questions for tutors who will respond with 48 hours.  Finally, there is an online writing lab for specific feedback.

“The main component across all of the eTutoring universities is the writing,” Reed said.  “Students can submit papers, and within a 24-hour timespan, they get those papers back with suggestions to help them.”

Despite the growing number of institutions that participate in the initiative in Ohio and the increased distance learning since eTutoring’s inception in 2010, usage at CSU is historically low.

“It’s definitely underutilized,” Reed said.  “It’s the same struggle we have with TASC in general – trying to get students to come and seek out our help.”

During a typical semester at CSU, only 25-30 students utilize eTutoring.  In the summer, this number is significantly less, even with the large volume of online course enrollment.

The problem, as Reed sees it, is marketing.  If students were more aware of the services, they would take more advantage of them, something TASC would like to see.

“It’s really easy to access it,” Reed said.  “We’ve never really had any questions or problems about signing up.  We hope in the fall to get more advertising through the CSU website.”

For more information about the CSU’s eTutoring services, visit http://www.csuohio.edu/academic/advising/tutoring/etutoring.html