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Online Tutoring Support Service For Stem

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Online and Web-based Education

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.926.1 - 15.926.9



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Paper Authors


Susan Miertschin University of Houston

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Susan L. Miertschin is an Associate Professor in Computer Information Systems at the University of Houston. She began her career in higher education teaching applied mathematics for engineering technology students. She demonstrated consistent interest in the application of information and communication technologies to instruction. This interest plus demonstrated depth of knowledge of computer applications and systems caused her to change her teaching focus to computer information systems in 2000. Recently, she has completed graduate course work in the area of Medical Informatics in order to deepen and broaden her knowledge of a key application domain for information systems. She has taught both online and hybrid courses and is interested in enhancing the quality of online learning experiences.

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Carole Goodson University of Houston

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Dr. Carole Goodson is a Professor of Technology at the University of Houston. As an active member of ASEE, she is a member of the Academy of Fellows, a past Editor of the Journal of Engineering Technology, a past Chair of PIC IV and the ERM Division, and a past Chair of the Gulf Southwest Section of ASEE.

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Susan Schroeder University of Houston

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Susan Schroeder, M.S. has been employed by the University of Houston as Lecturer for 16 years. She teaches mathematics courses such as Applied Numerical Methods, Applications of Discrete Methods in Technology, and Merchandising Mathematics in hybrid and online formats. Ms. Schroeder is also the Program Manager of Instructional Support Services, a lab that provides student academic support and faculty instructional support. She understands that mathematics can be a difficult course for many students and continually challenges herself to excel as a communicator in the subject. She became interested in ways to interact with students in remote locations which led to the investigation of online tutoring. Currently, the Instructional Support Services Lab offers live tutoring with a web conferencing tool.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Online Tutoring Support Service for STEM


Quantitative and computer intensive courses commonly found in STEM curricula are especially challenging for many students. When these courses are offered in online and hybrid formats, the challenge can become even greater. And yet, non-traditional course formats offer much in terms of making STEM degree programs widely available to diverse audiences. Due to this appeal, online and hybrid format courses are becoming more common. To support these initiatives, institutions of higher education are developing creative ways to effectively support students enrolled in nontraditional format STEM courses.

Students at the University of Houston who enrolled in specific courses already had the advantage of an Instructional Support Services Lab to support their course experiences, regardless of whether their enrollment was in traditional face-to-face format courses or non-traditional online and hybrid format courses. The ISS Lab, situated on campus within the College offering the courses, provides on-site tutoring, including tutoring for quantitative and computer-intensive courses, as well as general support for courses, such as on-site testing. With increasing popularity of non-traditional format courses, the need grew for a tutoring service that was easily accessible and effective for delivering tutoring for quantitative and computer-intensive content, regardless of location and time commitments. Thus, a system for delivering on-line tutoring for quantitative and computer-intensive courses was developed with the support of an institutional grant. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the added service and to determine methods for improving it, development and implementation was monitored and evaluated using an action research approach. This paper reports the implementation experience, including the following components: ≠ A foundational basis for effectiveness of online tutoring through an overview of literature and online tutoring options, ≠ Background about the institutional infrastructure that enables the service, ≠ A presentation of the factors that must be considered in the implementation including general lessons learned, technological drivers of success, and preliminary data regarding student perceptions of an online tutoring experience.

Foundational Basis

Much learning today is supported in some way by information and communication technologies (ICT). Recent research reports that ICT supported learning is growing. At the same time, studies report that drop-out rates for such non-traditional learning vary from 10% – 75%.10 Chang grouped factors that may cause such high drop-out rates, calling the groups (1) barriers (including technology problems), (2) unmet student expectations, and (3) faculty time limitations. Factors contributing to unmet student expectations include timely response time, comfortable student-instructor and student-student relationships, and supportive instructor- student relationships. Faculty time limitations contributed to problems with timely response, supportiveness, and relationships.4 These studies point to the fact that “quality e-learning needs efficient and quality student support”.10

Miertschin, S., & Goodson, C., & Schroeder, S. (2010, June), Online Tutoring Support Service For Stem Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16447

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