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eTutoring meeting needs of online students

eTutoring meeting needs of EOU’s online students

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu
Source contact: Kathleen Brown | Learning Center Tutor Coordinator
541-962-3142 | kbrown@eou.edu

Shelby Tucker is one of EOU’s staff of trained students providing assistance through eTutoring.

October 18, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – College students enrolled exclusively in online programs may wonder what to do if they need to schedule face time with a tutor.

For those taking their classes through Eastern Oregon University, a new service is available. It’s called eTutoring and students are using it to connect with tutors at EOU’s Learning Center and other universities across the western U.S.

The complete eTutoring interface includes eChat, eQuestions and an eWriting Lab. A computer with an Internet connect, microphone and headset are the only requirements for communicating face-to-face with tutors. Students can also submit questions offline and request feedback on their papers.

“Our students are being served well and in a timely manner,” said Donna Evans, director of EOU’s Writing Center. “The longest turnaround time we’ve seen on a paper so far is 24 hours, and 10 hours was the average wait during spring term.”

The service is powered by the Western eTutoring Consortium, which EOU joined last year. Around 250,000 students at member institutions are getting help with accounting, anatomy and physiology, biology, calculus, chemistry, economics, engineering focused on circuits and digital systems, math, physics, Spanish, statistics, web development, writing, even Microsoft Office.

Kathleen Brown is EOU’s tutor coordinator. She works in concert with Evans and the consortium directors to train math and writing tutors. Tutors at other member institutions currently cover the additional subjects mentioned.

Brown has seen eTutoring open a lot of doors in the short time since its implementation at EOU. Having completed her own degree online through another institution, she understands how important it is to provide equal support to students who never set foot on their university campus.

“We want our online students to know we are continually looking for ways to meet their needs,” Brown said. “It’s also a great opportunity for our tutors to learn how to interact, listen and teach with a high level of quality control.”

That quality is achieved in part by using a rating system built-in to the platform. Each session is also recorded so tutors and supervisors can review and adjust their approach based on whether or not it was successful.

Behind the scenes, a robust reporting structure specific to EOU enables Brown and others to view data on which subjects are requested the most, overall frequency of use and other indicators to help track outcomes.

Ultimately, Brown said the year-round accessibility of eTutoring is what stands out on the long list of benefits. During finals week and other times when demand is high, extra tutors are even on call. Winter break is the only instance when services are unavailable.

Students new to eTutoring should go to www.eou.edu/students and click the Online eTutoring link under Online Education at EOU. On campus students also have access to a dynamic resource library.

For more information or help with registration, contact Brown or Evans at 541-962-3663 or e-mail lcenter@eou.edu.