Online Academic Tutoring Helps All Learners [Podcast]

College male using digital tablet

An increase in online and blended learning modalities, higher service and support expectations, and the need to help a diverse population of students has led institutions to look for additional ways to enhance the current academic services they provide for learners. But how do you scale your on-ground services to help students that may not ever enter a physical campus or have personal commitments that restrict them from taking advantage of on-ground academic supports? While online academic services are often discussed in the context of online learning programs, they don’t have to be just for online learners. Students in a variety of learning environments can benefit from online academic services such as tutoring.

Over the last several years, the practice of online tutoring has received more attention in K-20 education, and technology has evolved a great deal, growing to include a number of different platforms and technologies in synchronous or asynchronous formats (Turrentine & MacDonald, 2006). Generally, online tutoring allows students to access the services of subject matter experts who provide individualized assistance remotely via an interactive whiteboard, chat, file sharing and other online communication platforms. Online tutoring has been shown to have positive impact for overall student achievement (Kersaint, Dogbey, Barber, & Kephart, 2011), including:

  • Better test scores
  • Improved attitudes about seeking help
  • Increased likelihood to persist in the course where tutoring was offered

In this podcast, Smarthinking’s Linda Bush, Ph.D., Director of Tutoring for Math and Sciences, and Kyra Garofolo, Lead Tutor Coordinator for Statistics, talk about online tutoring and the benefits of adding this service to the academic supports an institution provides. They discuss how online tutoring compares to face-to-face options and complements classroom instruction, as well as the importance of pedagogy in online tutoring services. Successful strategies for the incorporation of online tutoring into institutional academic support services are also reviewed.





Turrentine, P., & MacDonald, I. (2006). Tutoring Online: Increasing Effectiveness With Best Practices. NADE Digest, 2 (2), Fall 2006. Retrieved from

Kersaint, G., Dogbey, J., Barber, J., & Kephart, D. (2011). The Effect of Access to an Online Tutorial Service on Student Outcomes. Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning 19(1), pp. 25-44. Retrieved from