The Francis Marion University (FMU) Writing Center (WC) recently expanded their online tutoring program to all FMU students via Blackboard Collaborate.
Director of the WC and Associate Professor of English Dr. Jennifer Kunka said the increase of FMU online classes led to the creation of the online tutoring program.
“We started online tutoring a year ago to help support the new online courses here at the university,” Kunka said. “Last semester, we opened it up to everyone on the campus.”
The WC did online session trials with the education and nursing departments before offering tutoring to all students.
Senior English-liberal arts major Justin McGee, who also serves as the assistant online coordinator, explained that the program allows them to assist students outside of the WC.
“I like [tutoring online] because we can offer the same help to all students at FMU in the same way that we would help them in person at the writing center if they couldn’t make it to their appointment.” McGee said. “It’s really good for people who work during the day.”
Kunka said she had been considering online tutoring for a long time but did not want to offer it until it was pedagogically sound and had funding to cover it. She said she is eager to see the program grow at FMU and hopes students will use the service.
The online tutoring team for this semester includes Tiara Felder, Jennifer Coker, Ashley Humphries and Melody Pritchard. In order to become an online tutor, students have to work at the WC in person for at least one semester.
McGee said the tutors are also making different PowerPoint presentations to help students with more assistance.
“If we don’t have an appointment scheduled, we use that time to make materials that can be used in online sessions, like PowerPoints about comma exercises, or about MLA or APA citation formats,” McGee said.
The slogan for the WC online tutoring program is “Even if you can’t meet us face to face here, you can meet us face to face online.” Kunka said the slogan fits the online tutoring program perfectly because Blackboard Collaborate allows the tutors to see and hear the tutee as well as share documents with them.
Students who would like to register for online tutoring must have Java, Mozilla Firefox and Adobe Reader. If any student is unsure of how to use or download any of these outlets, tutors are available to help them.
The WC offers online tutoring on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings. For more information about making an appointment, call (843) 661-1528.