eTutoring pilot program takes off


This semester, Youngstown State University joined the list of 42 colleges and universities in Ohio that provide eTutoring, a program that provides online tutoring services to students.

Because the program is in the pilot stage, it is not yet available for all courses. For now, three courses offer eTutoring: Biology 1505, Chemistry 1501 and Mathematics 1513. 

Robin Sakonyi, assistant director of supplemental instruction and student tutorial services, said the Center for Student Progress chose to open eTutoring to courses that had a high demand for face-to-face tutoring, rather than opening it up to every course.

Since Aug. 27, 36 YSU students have used the program.

Sakonyi said the majority of responses to the program have been for the math course. With a need for an online tutoring service, she said she thinks most students still prefer face-to-face instruction.

Jonelle Beatrice, director of the Center for Student Progress, said the program was put in place to provide another option for academic support.

“Ultimately, once we get [through the pilot stage], the program will provide a lot more accessibility for students who have jobs or families and are not always available for regular tutoring sessions,” Beatrice said.

So far, Beatrice said she is satisfied with the program and the number of students using it.

Jack Fahey, vice president for student affairs, said he is pleased with the initial response to the program. 

One benefit of eTutoring is that students don’t need to make an appointment. Though online tutors are not available at all times, users can post questions or comments on a message board and receive a response at the tutor’s earliest convenience.

Sakonyi said the CSP will continue to evaluate patterns of use and determine the best way to utilize the program.

“It’s going to be a process to see how the program takes hold,” Sakonyi said. “We’ll continue to see how students respond.”

ETutoring does not cost YSU anything to operate other than payment to the tutors, who are already on the university’s payroll.