TAMPA – June 26, 2009 – Erin MacDiarmid, Academic Advisor and Tutorial Coordinator for athletics at the University at Buffalo, says the softball team only played six home games last season. If you’re wondering how these student athletes keep up with academics while traveling, you’re not alone.
Link-Systems International (LSI) held a focus group at N4A (National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics) in Miami Beach last week to discuss the important role online tutoring could play in a student athlete’s academic career.
"Student athletes miss a lot of class and having online tutoring available really helps," says Etienne Thomas, Associate Athletics Director at North Carolina Central University. Thomas was just one attendee at a focus group held by the NetTutor® Online Tutoring Service provided by LSI. NetTutor provides synchronous, one-on-one tutoring through the use of the WorldWideWhiteBoard™, which is customized according to subject and course. Live tutoring is available 7 days a week, and students may submit a question to the Q & A Center anytime.
"Online tutoring is very beneficial for student athletes," says Thomas. "It’s quick and accessible while they’re on the road."
Dr. David Kephart, the director of the NetTutor® Online Tutoring Service, agrees that the flexibility of online tutoring is one of its main advantages.
"The great thing is the centralization of our tutors," he says. "All of our tutors are based in our Tampa offices. We can control the time the tutors are there, and we have tutors available seven days a week, all through the day. That way, students can login anytime to ask a question or speak with a tutor. And because our tutors work in the same office, the training never stops.”
Dr. Kephart reports that all NetTutor tutors have the requisite academics and most have graduate degrees. All tutors have teaching or tutoring experience, and are required to pass a rigorous subject area test, in addition to a tutor-training session.
“Tutors don’t even work with a student until we’re confident that they are competent,” says Dr. Kephart.
Dr. Kephart notes that using NetTutor doesn’t require any special software, downloads, or plug-ins – just an Internet connection. Students can login from any computer, anytime, and be connected with a tutor. And since NetTutor works together with institutions and instructors, students can get help with homework and review for tests – but are never “given the answers.”
“We guide and encourage students, but it’s not our philosophy to just give answers,” says Amy Anthony, Program Coordinator for NetTutor. “We set up specific rules of engagement with each institution, so they can decide how they want their students to be tutored. For example, we only help students with problems from their textbooks – that way, students cannot get help with problems from exams.”
A student can, however, retrieve and print out past tutoring sessions from the tutoring archives to use them for review – something MacDiarmid deems valuable for students who need to review for tests, especially while away from home.
“I didn’t even know online tutoring was an option,” MacDiarmid says. Her institution, like many others, doesn’t take advantage of online tutoring.
“We initially thought online tutoring was too expensive; we don’t have any online tutoring at all,” says Edward Vaughn, Dean of the College for Excellence at Alcorn State University. “But we looked into it and determined that it was affordable. We also realized that some students have a hard time coming forward and openly saying, ‘I need help’, so online tutoring could fix this.”
For more information on NetTutor®: http://www.link-systems.com/nettutor
About Link-Systems, International: We are a privately held, self-funding technology, services and content development company dedicated to student success and retention in K-12, Higher Education, and Workforce Development. Our core technologies include a very flexible online tutoring/teaching platform, an online gradebook, and Information Visibility Software (IVS) technology designed to provide real-time alerts regarding student performance, attendance, and other metrics. Our core services include content development, consulting, and Online Tutoring. Our customers include K-12 publishers, Higher Education Publishers, virtual high schools, higher education institutions, technology companies, and Joint Programs dedicated to providing online educational content to members of Organized Labor.
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