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WCET Profiles CTDLC's eTutoring Program

The following article appears on WCET's blog Frontiers.

In this Frontiers blog, we welcome back the 2007 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award winning eTutoring program from the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium. A long running program by any standards, this WOW Award winner has continued to grow and improve over the past six years. Speaking of WOW Awards, don't forget to nominate your or a colleague's outstanding work in applying an innovative, technology-based solution to a challenging educational need. Nominations are open until April 22 to all WCET members.

When the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium was created back in 1998, it's doubtful our founders imagined we would someday be providers of online tutoring to over 130 institutions of higher education across North America. But that's exactly where we find ourselves today.

The Origins of the eTutoring Collaborative Idea

As a membership organization, created by our state's legislature to help Connecticut's colleges and universities develop and deliver high quality online courses to its students, the notion of collaboration between and among colleges and universities was at the core of our efforts from the start. In the process of one of these projects, the eTutoring program and platform emerged. Diane Goldsmith, Director of Learning, Assessment and Online Education at the University of Rhode Island, and Executive Director Emerita of CTDLC, tells the story:

"It was 2000 and the colleges and universities in Connecticut were beginning to offer online classes, however, no one was thinking about how to provide academic support to those students. I was new to CTDLC, but thought that a collaboration might provide an answer even though I didn't really know how. So I wrote a grant with 7 institutions and we were funded to build collaborative online student support services, despite having no real idea how to do that in a state where each institution saw itself as its own universe. We began to focus on tutoring and listened to myriads of concerns, from a blanket, "you can't tutor online," to the specific, "all our tutors have to be familiar with the textbook for each class." Then one day, a Distance Learning Director said, "But if my institution provides a writing tutor and yours a math tutor, we can cover more subjects, serve more students, and provide more tutoring hours than if we each go it alone."

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