By Paul Takahashi, Las Vegas Sun, originally published on 8/23/12
Ashley Garcia scribbles away in her spiral-bound notebook, slowly filling it with numbers, functions and equations. It’s early on a lazy summer morning, but instead of sleeping in like many of her classmates who graduated last month from Coronado High School, Garcia is hard at work studying in a windowless computer lab at UNLV. Garcia is cramming because she doesn’t want to become a statistic.
This fall, a third of the incoming freshmen class — about 1,000 students, including Garcia — will enter UNLV unprepared to take a college-level math course. If past performance is any indication, these students are more likely to take out additional loans to pay for remedial coursework that ultimately won’t count toward their degree requirements. These remedial students also are less likely to graduate college in six years.
The stakes are high, Garcia realizes. So instead of relaxing away the summer before college, Garcia enrolled in UNLV’s Expect Success Summer Bridge Program. It’s a new and free pilot program that aims to help students place out of remedial math courses through tutoring and technology. “I’m not a math person, so I don’t want to do more math than I need to,” said Garcia, who hopes to major in communications. “If I had to take remedial math, I would be wasting two semesters of college. If I pass this, it’ll free me up to study what I want.”
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Filed under: College,Technology
by Bob Lasiewicz, Managing Director, Crossroads of Learning
On-line tutoring requires conscious awareness of many communication techniques that are taken for granted in traditional face-to-face tutoring. In this article I focus on the use of the written word for assignment review or as a part of real-time audio or video enabled tutoring sessions.
It is important that tutors respond quickly and consistently whenever providing asynchronous feedback since this can be the key “presence indicator” for the student. A 24-hour turnaround during the week and 48 hours on the weekend is fairly common. Whatever metric is used, it should be clearly communicated so that tutor and student share common expectations.
Proof of this can be found at Crossroads of Learning where assessments and ad-hoc communications between the tutors we train and their mentors take place asynchronously in writing. Based on student exit surveys we see a profound positive correlation between mentor responsiveness and the sense of connection, course satisfaction, and the self-reported improvement in tutoring skills experienced by the students.
Although positive feedback is commonly advised it is crucial to include specific reference to aspects of the students work as frequently as possible. A series of comments of the “Good job!” variety can be a turn-off for students. Tutors who include supporting information or questions and relatable tutor experiences and perspectives can extend the sense of real-world application and connectedness for the student.
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Filed under: Technology,Tutoring Practices
by Journal Editor
The creators of the oaSES software for managing enterprise level tutoring operations have introduced TutorFirst. It is designed to be used by one tutor running a small business in their spare time right up to mid-sized companies who would like to manage their operational data and tutor scheduling activities on a subscription-based online platform.
Prospective customers can choose from Tiers and Modules to build the services they require from their tutor scheduling software. The first Tier is for one Tutor and up to three students and the Tiers grow as the business grows. When a business reaches enterprise level the switch to oaSES to manage your data in a comprehensive system is easy, should you require the increased functionality of a super-system such as the need to export attendance and invoice data in formats compatible with many district systems including Cayen, EZSES, NYC DOE and others.
Modules dictate the functionality that can be added to the base system such as Custom Fields for Student, Staff and Session records to record data specific to your operational requirements. Current Invoicing, payments and payroll modules are included at all levels. Slated for release over the coming weeks are Testing, Learning Plans and Progress Reports.
The system can process credit card payments and integrates with Quickbooks Pro to track customers, invoices and payments without duplicate entry. The pricing is based on # of staff, students, storage requirements and installed modules.
For more information visit TutorFirst at www.tutorfirst.com.
Filed under: Admin/Management,Technology
by James Lomuscio, WestportNow.com, originally published on 7/28/2012
What if your child’s tutor not only knew the subject well, but but had taken the very same class with the same teacher and knew the classroom and school dynamic to boot? Those ideas came to Greg Lewis, a 2011 graduate of Westport’s Staples High School, during his senior year. This past year at Amherst College, the 19-year-old economics major thought about it long and hard.
Driven by the entrepreneurial spirit, Lewis and close friend Gabe Schindler, also a 2011 Staples graduate, teamed up this summer to launch a business that does just that, linking high school students who do well with those who could benefit from their expertise. Their venture is called Pencil Warrior, their website http://www.pencilwarrior.com. “The page is still completely under-construction and in ‘beta’, although the aesthetics and programming will be complete within the next few days,” says Schindler.
To date, they have amassed a mix of 50 high performing students, not to mention star athletes, who can offer help in both the classroom and on the playing field. “What we are is a platform for the Westport community,” says Schindler, a fine arts major at the University of Michigan. “We created a website that allows students to share their successes in their community. It’s for high school level students who can become a mentor in their community.
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Filed under: Small Private Practices