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TechEDge eNews Update
Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 Written by Andy Chang Tuesday, 24 July 2012
Recently the Online Tutoring Project was recognized by the League for Innovation in the Community College with a 2012 Innovation of the Year Award for its innovative use of technology to promote student service and success.
According to the League website: "Every year the League honors outstanding innovations which have been recognized by member institutions as Innovations of the Year. These innovations represent capstone achievements and the continuing renewal of the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded."
The Online Tutoring Project award specifically mentions that the project used quality, creative and cost effective means to achieve its objectives.
The Online Tutoring project was conceived out of the San Bernardino Community College District and run by the EduStream project.
- Due to cuts in state funding, local learning center hours are being cut and resources are limited. Students who used to have access to more hours of on campus tutoring are seeing those options go away. The Online Tutoring program was thought of as a way to supplement those lost hours and provide another avenue to students to get the help they need.
- To provide a service to online students that they previously were not getting. One of the big drivers at our local campus was to bridge the gap in services between what an online student receives versus a traditional on-campus student. Having access to tutoring in a format they are familiar with without having to drive onto the campus was seen as a big help to our online-only students who rarely come on campus due to their schedules or travel logistics.
- Today’s students are much more technology savvy then previous generations. Most things they are comfortable with are online and in social formats. Whether it be video chatting, sending electronic messages or posting updates that the masses can see, online is where they feel comfortable. SBCCD/EduStream thought that if we provided a means where they can get tutoring online, students who would not typically take advantage of on-campus learning centers would take advantage of the online tutoring program because of the comfort of participating from wherever they want. The system also allows them to recieve tutoring anonymously if they choose that format.
So what is Online Tutoring? In its most basic form, it is a faculty member that EduStream has hired, in a studio with a camera facing them. The session is broadcast live over the Web at appointed times and students can log into a unique interface where they can see the instructor, ask questions live and receive help in real time. Multiple students can log in to the same session and the instructors will take questions one at a time.
Students are also able to download attachments that the instructor may have from that same interface, as well as being linked to any relevant websites or social media pages the instructor feels are relevant.
Students who know they will miss sessions are encouraged to email their questions in ahead of time. A recorded video of the session will then be archived and made available for viewing so the student can still get help when not present. In fact, all sessions are archived in this manner and all are available for any student who wishes to view them for additional help.
Plans moving forward: SBCCD and EduStream have plans to launch the Online Tutoring program statewide as a service to the other 110 California Community Colleges. The thought is that by utilizing the resources at EduStream, we can provide a cost-effective means for other colleges to address the same concerns that SBCCD has regarding their online and on-campus tutoring needs.
Staff at local colleges would not need to concern themselves with running this program. They would simply need to make it available to their students and make them aware of the program. All logistics and technical issues are handled by SBCCD/EduStream project so this is a turn-key solution for many colleges looking to broaden their support for their online students. Currently EduStream is doing market comparisons and creating price lists, marketing materials and other relevant material. We also plan to coordinate closely with the CCC Chancellor’s office in the pre-launch and launch processes.<>
To learn more about the Online Tutoring Project visit its website at: dets.sbccd.org/onlinetutoring
Andy Chang is the EduStream Project Director at San Bernardino Community College District.