Online Embedded Tutors

Embedded Tutors

“Embedded” tutors, where a tutor is present to help students during and after a class, can be effective, however, there are limitations.  For example, faculty spend significant class time lecturing or working problems on the board, at which time an embedded tutor’s activities are minimal. In addition, many students can’t make it to the tutor’s office hours due to work and other scheduling issues.  Online tutoring alleviates that.

Peralta uses the Canvas online learning platform.  Canvas discussion groups allow students to discuss problems, address topics posted by the instructor, participate in online study groups, and get individual tutoring.   In one of my statistics classes, a traditional face to face class, the embedded tutor helps students when we do classroom activities and also has a presence in online discussion groups.  She has her own discussion area (“Claire’s Discussion Group”) that allows her to tutor students online, and she participates in other online discussions, enabling her to guide conversations and give input concerning various topics.  Participating in online discussions allows an embedded tutor to explore a wide range of topics and to take part in more creative and wide-reaching activities than ordinary tutoring allows.

I have a hybrid class that is 50% online and 50% face to face.  For this class the embedded tutor is imbedded in the online portion of the class, guiding students in discussions and tutoring them in areas where they need help.

Since the embedded tutor is splitting time between online and face to face activities, her hours must be properly apportioned.  For a face to face class and fixed office hours, it’s easy to assign a certain number of hours per week.  For online activities, which are largely asynchronous, an embedded tutor must use her hours to check and respond to student online comments and questions.  This means regular online presence.  In my class, students get credit for participating in online discussions, of which online tutoring is a part.