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Our Online Village: Building an Effective Online Tutor Training Course
Transcript of Our Online Village: Building an Effective Online Tutor Training Course
Building an Effective
Tutor Training Course
Jon Mladic, Academic Dean, Rasmussen College Romeoville-Joliet Campus
Emily O'Connor, Director of Library & Learning Resources, Rasmussen College
Identify benefits of student tutor development and virtual, asynchronous instruction.
Discover key components of developing an online, asynchronous tutor training course.
About Rasmussen College:
25 campuses in 6 states
National Online Program
70% of seats are online
Student-tutor services offered at every campus, including National Online
Tutoring is managed by a solo Learning Center Coordinator at each campus
How do we build the sense of team - One College - across tutors at 25 locations, including online students who have never seen a physical learning center?
How do we ensure that our training is:
Consistent, regardless of instructor
An effective learning opportunity
Tutor training equips trainees with essential foundations of adult learning and customer service:
"training...can consistently convey a few broad and important ideas...such as the nature of adult learning; the importance of focusing on learner goals" (Belzer, 2006, p. 134)
"tutoring requires a purposeful program of specific learning objectives, activities and assessments for developing students' master of concepts and skills" (Gorden, 2009, p. 444)
Tutor training prepares trainees with multiple tactics to synthesize and deliver subject-specific content with tutees:
"[tutors] must be properly inducted to the details of the courses, course intent and activities" (Wai-Kong, 2007, p. 262)
"Reinforcement of subject area skills is essential to tutor training... [they] must possess an understanding of that information in ways that might not have been accessed during coursework" (Deese-Roberts & Keating, 2000, p.41)
Tutor training motivates and empowers trainees as peer leaders long after graduation:
Peer tutoring "improves student motivation and sense of empowerment as learners" (Gordon, 2009, p. 443)
"they develop in profound ways, both intellectually and academically" (Hughs, Gillespie & Kail, 2010, p. 13)
its effects endure - two years and ten years and even twenty years beyond graduation (Hughes, 2010, p. 39)
Delivery of tutor training in an online learning environment may be an effective practice:
"Students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction" (U.S. Department of Education, 2010, xiv)
Using ANGEL as our course management system
All learning center coordinators would share teaching responsibilities
Content must match CRLA guidelines
Learning outcomes must be measurable
What we knew:
What we didn't know:
Where the course fit in our overall training process
What CRLA objectives we wanted to meet in the course
How we would assess student learning
What is a passing grade
What happens if they fail?
How we would gain buy-in from coordinators, tutors, and administration
Where does the course fit in our overall training process?
What CRLA objectives do we meet in the course?
How are the objectives built into modules?
Each Module Includes:
Summative Writing Assignment in Module 5
This module's reading and content focused on strategies for beginning and ending a tutoring session. Using the information discussed in the reading (if you missed it, please check for the pdf in "Course Schedule - Week 01") and your own experience, how might you respond effectively to the following two scenarios? (You may want to try role playing these scenarios with a veteran tutor who can give you pointers as to how to improve your approach):
At the beginning of your session, your tutee says to you, “I know you helped me get ideas for my Criminal Justice paper last Tuesday and told me to write a rough draft and bring it with me today, but I just didn’t get to it. Can you help me write it now?
At the beginning of your session, your tutee says to you, “The instructor in this class talks way above my head. I don’t understand what he’s talking about most of the time.”
How do we assess
Overviews & instructional guidance by module
Sample course announcements
Rubrics for each assignment
Sample student work (position statements)
Is the course successful?
Talking with other tutors about techniques they have tried.
Getting to see other tutor's points of view/ techniques
Sharing your tutoring experiences with other students.
The best part of the course was talking with other tutors and getting ideas for tutoring sessions.
I enjoyed the discussion posts. Being able to learn from other tutors was great.
I liked having the opportunity to learn from other tutors about how they would handle situations differently than I would have. It gave me ideas on how to be a more efficient tutor.
I liked that I could talk with other tutors. They know exactly what it is like tutoring and we could help each other out with issues we have all had. Know I feel very confident that when a problem arises I will know how to handle it.
I loved interacting with tutors from other campuses. I learned so many techniques that would be beneficial to me as a tutor.
Interacting with other tutors and incorporating some of their feedback with the way that I tutor.
Roll Out & Buy-In
We began discussions on applying for CRLA as a College in early 2010
Course development began in Winter, 2011
Learning Center Coordinators were the first "students" in the course in Fall, 2011
Learning Center Coordinators trained on course instruction Fall, 2011 through Spring, 2012
Further training & meetings were held to roll out the "Tutor Excellence Project" (our overhauled tutoring program)
New Learning Center Coordinators are required to complete the course the first time it is offered after hire.
Make small revisions to the course content
Where relevant, add suggested readings and multimedia, including current and graduate tutor interviews
Add a pre-test to engage students in content and provide another means of assessment
Develop an e-text, potentially in partnership with Cengage Learning.
Design the course for the Moodle platform
Offer the course for other institutions:
Purchase the content on the Moodle or ANGEL platform
Enroll students in currently-running sections
Jon Mladic: firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily O'Connor: email@example.com