April 1, 2016
This February, eTutor Alberta marked its second birthday with the release of a series of five videos designed to share the project’s vision and to help users feel at home throughout the online tutoring experience.
“We’re continually pursuing new initiatives to make eTutor Alberta more user-friendly, both for students and for participating institutions,” said Elizabeth Gripping, Program Coordinator, eTutor Alberta.
The first video provides a one-minute introduction to eTutor Alberta. While this video focuses on the student perspective, it can also help faculty and staff catch a glimpse of how eTutor Alberta works. The other four videos show students how to sign up, submit a paper or question for feedback, or meet with a tutor in real time. Together, these videos allow eTutor Alberta to “reach students in their comfort zone,” says Andrew Derksen, Lead Academic Strategist at Lethbridge College’s Learning Café. Lucinda Jenkins, Chair of Business and Administrative Programs and University Studies at Northern Lakes College, agrees: “The creation of these materials indicates the strong desire of eCampusAlberta and the eTutor Alberta Advisory Committee to make things work for students.”
These videos testify to eTutor Alberta’s commitment to quality, innovation, and student-friendly service, a commitment that has resulted in rising numbers of student users across Alberta. Since 2014, eTutor Alberta has made a difference for thousands of learners, first through asynchronous writing tutoring and then through real-time math tutoring. “In the space of two years, we’ve launched robust programs to support students in two disciplines using three accessible online tools. Overall, we’ve experienced amazing growth: every semester, our usage has grown to reach more students across Alberta,” said Gripping. “In Fall 2015, for example, students participated in 1002 tutoring sessions!” Student satisfaction ratings testify to the ongoing value of the service, with 90% of respondents rating tutoring sessions as “helpful” or “very helpful.”
Gripping attributes this success to eTutor Alberta’s collaborative model, which involves regular input from all participating institutions through an advisory committee. Amanda Nelson, Grande Prairie Regional College’s Learning Support Centre Coordinator and eTutor Alberta representative, describes the committee as “a strong, innovative, and dedicated team devoted to ensuring that students receive the highest quality service.” Gripping also emphasizes eCampusAlberta’s crucial role in providing the “vision, guidance, operational support, and financial sponsorship” that makes eTutor Alberta a success.
“eTutor Alberta is doing an excellent job of providing students with high-quality, accessible and convenient tutoring support in a range of subject areas,” says Tricia Donovan, Executive Director, eCampusAlberta. “We look forward to seeing the service expand to serve more students in more subjects.”