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No appointment, no problem with eTutoring

By Bri Ozalas
Correspondent

Over the summer, the College partnered with the Northeast eTutoring Consortium, an online tutoring site which provides tutoring in math: basic through calculus, statistics, accounting, biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, information literacy and research methods and writing, according to the Tutoring Center website. Last week, the Tutoring Center opened eTutoring, an online tutoring website, for all undergraduate students during the fall semester.

“As the semester goes on, we run out of available appointments, and eTutoring makes it easier for students to get feedback without worrying about making an appointment,” said Diane Gruenberg, director of humanities, social sciences, languages, music, education and writing services at the College’s Tutoring Center. “We want to help students find learning support and resources that work for them.”

The Tutoring Center is already seeing over 1,300 students a week, according to Gruenberg, and it’s not even time for midterms or finals, which is usually when the Tutoring Center reaches its peak in number of students. On many days, the Tutoring Center has to expand from its usual place in Roscoe West Hall 101 and send students and tutors up to the second floor due to a lack of sufficient tutoring spaces in the Center itself.

The eTutoring service offers a solution for the Tutoring Center to expand its reach out to more students without needing to hire more tutors or find bigger facilities.

On the eTutoring website, students can chat with and post questions for tutors online. The Offline Questions option, or eQuestions, lets students post questions for the next available tutor to answer when they log on. EChat allows students to live-message other tutors from any college in the Northeast Consortium that is also using this program. The College currently does not have any hired tutors for the eChat and eQuestions features, but Gruenberg hopes to hire some in the future.

eTutoring’s Online Writing Lab allows students to submit their writings and essays for feedback from a Consortium writing tutor. Currently, three writing tutors at the College are doing a portion of their work through eTutoring.

“From a tutor’s perspective, eTutoring definitely has its advantages — we have more time, we’re not constrained to nine to five schedule. It makes engaging with and focusing on the quality of an essay much easier,” said Steven Rodriguez, junior history and philosophy double major and eTutoring writing tutor at the College. “eTutoring is not going to replace traditional tutoring, but it was definitely necessary to accommodate students’ different schedules.”

Gruenberg also does not think eTutoring will replace face-to-face tutoring offered in the Tutoring Center, but will rather add to the range of tutoring services.

“We want to extend the tutoring day for students. Everyone has different learning styles, working patterns and ways of living,” she said. “Also, the current generation of college students is attuned to getting information from online sources, and eTutoring makes tutoring accessible and easy for these students.”

Gruenberg anticipates that eTutoring will be available over the summer so students can not only “extend their tutoring day, but also their tutoring year.”

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