Flexible, 24/7 online tutoring meets students’ needs
Online tutoring service helps nontraditional students and student-athletes succeed
West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) offers a comprehensive suite of student success services, including a Tutor Assistance Program (TAP), to help its students meet their goals. In 2007, one of WTAMU’s vice presidents approached Michelle Blake, assistant director, Office of Educational Services, about a concern regarding TAP’s accessibility. Although many students were benefiting from the face-to-face tutoring service, there were subgroups of students who were unable to take advantage of the program due to scheduling and logistical conflicts.
Nontraditional students, many who held jobs or had families, had difficulty finding the time to come to campus for tutoring assistance. Student-athletes in this competitive Division II school also had difficulty accessing the service due to heavy practice and game schedules. In addition, student interest in online classes was growing, so the time seemed right for WTAMU to look for an online tutoring solution.
WTAMU chose Pearson’s Smarthinking as its online tutoring service because it is available 24/7, gives students the option to work with a tutor immediately or to schedule a session later, and provides tutoring in critical subjects like math and science. In addition, WTAMU was interested in Smarthinking’s writing review services.
Since WTAMU launched Smarthinking at the beginning of the 2007-2008 academic year, the number of students using the online tutoring program has ranged from 479 to 713 students per year. Usage is heaviest between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. and on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Students appreciate the online tutoring service. “The convenience and flexibility of just being able to get online and ask a question about a math problem prior to an exam or to be able to submit a paper and get a response within 24 hours is amazing,” said Blake. “We get nothing but positive feedback.”
If students need help with a problem, they can go to Smarthinking and get immediate assistance.
Audrey Meador, Instructor of Mathematics
Student-athletes have been particularly enthusiastic about the program. “When they’re on the road, they’re able to get the help that they need,” explained Blake. Audrey Meador, instructor of mathematics, agreed. “I have had some students comment that they can use Smarthinking from their mobile phones, and one student told me he used it in the airport.”
Exit survey results confirm student satisfaction with Smarthinking. When asked if they would recommend the tutoring service to a friend, 89.7 percent of students said yes, and 95.3 percent would recommend the writing review services to a friend. Blake summarized the survey results in this way: “Smarthinking is meeting all our students’ needs, and they are very happy with the service.”
Percentage of Students Who Would Recommend Smarthinking to a Friend
Exit Survey Results, August 15, 2014-May 14, 2015