Overcoming Challenges in Online Peer Tutoring

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CONFERENCE: Student Showcase for Research, Scholarship & Creativity

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Gotti, Stephanie; Dull, Audra; York, Matthew
Education; Online and Distance Education
conference paper description
This project examines types of comments which tutees using the Trumbull Online Writing Lab (OWL) are receiving from tutors and why tutors are providing these types of comments. Two tutors analyzed 10 submissions to create an instrument which is used to examine the entire data set consisting of 20 OWL submissions. The majority of comments focus on mechanical errors. This finding suggests two things: Firstly, tutors frequently focus on mechanical mistakes; and secondly, tutors are failing to provide comments regarding content. This second finding is problematic because content is critical to the production of an effective paper. This project postulates that the lack of content-related comments is due to the fact that providing such feedback via email does not enable the type of direct and instantaneous communication which occurs during face-to-face tutoring. This project not only highlights a deficiency in email-facilitated tutor feedback but also suggests a possible solution to this issue: the use of collaborative, real-time software which would provide an opportunity to communicate instantly and directly with students.