MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — MTSU is continuing its remote tutoring into the fall as the option proved quite successful and popular with students during the modified spring semester when the university went to online learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About 1,000 students have taken advantage of the free service — normally offered at The Tutoring Spot in the James E. Walker Library and various on-campus locations by the MTSU Office of Student Success — that is available via Zoom online teleconferencing and other methods.
A mid-June meeting led to the decision to once again tutor remotely, “with a priority given to protect the health, welfare and safety of students and the campus community,” said Cornelia Wills, director of Student Success, who leads the university’s tutoring and supplemental instruction program.
Many students are taking advantage of remote help in nearly 200 courses and subject areas during the fall semester.
Benefits of tutoring include:
• Better test grades and improved GPA.
• Higher persistence/retention rates
• Understanding difficult course material.
• Help when struggling in a course.
Because of the nature of some courses, there is still on-ground tutoring in a few areas with a studio format such as Theatre and Dance and human sciences.
Remote sessions also are being conducted for supplemental instruction — a peer-assisted, group study and discussion method using regularly scheduled, informal sessions to help students develop greater understanding of challenging content, refine study skills and integrate course material.
Supplemental instruction leader Clinton Warren said “things are going great and my first couple of sessions were better than I could have hoped, and a fair number of students came and expressed further interest.”
Spring remote tutoring numbers were impressive: Even with the COVID-19 disruption, 4,959 tutoring sessions far exceeded utilization from the spring 2019 total of 3,561 in-person sessions.
Nearly as many students used remote tutoring (48 percent) as did on-ground tutoring (52 percent) before spring break.
Ways to grow
As an enhancement to the traditional annual tutor training, Wills integrated a new training component, Online Tutoring Essentials. Developed by Tutor Matching Service, it is a two-hour, self-paced, interactive course designed to help tutors to create both a collaborative and engaging online tutoring experience. All tutors were asked to complete the training.
The Office of Student Success has partnered with the campus’s Disability and Access Center to provide help through organizational and study skills for these students.
A future endeavor includes a proposed venture with the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center to offer specialized tutoring assistance to this special population of students — our veterans.
MTSU’s Office of Student Success is led by Rick Sluder, vice provost for student success, and Vincent Windrow, associate vice provost.