eTutor Alberta shares benefits of collaboration at National Writing Centre Conference

Elizabeth Gripping and Megan Robertson at the CWCA

June 29, 2016

Since eCampusAlberta sponsored the launch of eTutor Alberta in 2014, the online tutoring service has made great strides in reaching more students, adding innovative services, and developing collaborative partnerships – and the eTutor Alberta team recently shared its story at the 2016 Canadian Writing Centres Association conference in Calgary.

“This conference brings together researchers and practitioners from across the country to share experiences and expertise,” said Elizabeth Gripping, eTutor Alberta Program Coordinator.  “The conference this year centred on the theme of collaboration, and, as one of the leading collaborative projects in Western Canada, eTutor Alberta was invited to participate.”  

Members of the eTutor Alberta community, including tutors, advisory committee members, and Gripping herself, participated in two presentations at the conference. “As joint projects with WriteAway, eTutor Alberta’s counterpart in British Columbia, both presentations demonstrated collaboration,” said Gripping. “They also reflected on two levels of collaboration: first, between tutor and student and, second, between the member institutions in a tutoring consortium,” she added.

In the first presentation, representatives from Lethbridge College, Simon Fraser University, SAIT, and Douglas College explored the ways that online tutors work collaboratively with students. Themes included process-based writing and student responsibility and choice. Second, with Megan Robertson, WriteAway Program Coordinator, Gripping presented a poster on the challenges and opportunities of interorganizational collaboration in online writing instruction.  To learn more, check out the digital copy of the poster at http://etutoralberta.ca/resources.

Gripping said that participation in this conference has many benefits: it enables eTutor Alberta to share its research on tutoring pedagogy and allows for connection and collaboration between colleagues. “This year, some presentations discussed the integration of writing centres with other tutoring services, especially mathematics,” said Gripping. “Whether the subject is writing or math, tutors do the same work:  they help students learn and apply concepts and equip them to succeed independently. eTutor Alberta has adopted that same philosophy in its recently launched math tutoring service, and it’s lovely to see other research support our approach.”

Finally, by participating in this association, eTutor Alberta is raising its profile, drawing attention to the important work of online tutoring services.