Online tutelage to provide assistance

By Marlene Rivas, Staff Writer

New, additional online services will be offered in fall 2015 in an attempt to facilitate tutoring and help for students not regularly on campus.

There are currently resources available to help students who may not be able to spend much time on campus to take part in face-to-face tutoring.

Tutoring coordinator Brandy Gibson said that there is currently online tutoring that students may not be aware of. If one is enrolled in the Skills Center’s tutoring, then questions can be sent to tutors via Desire 2 Learn, she said.

Students can pick the courses they require assistance with and begin a discussion with tutors and others, or use the provided information to contact tutors alone. The incoming questions are monitored and tutors are guaranteed to respond within 24 hours.

The push for new online services came from a suggestion from the accreditation committee last fall to provide equitable services to students, primarily online students, counselor Norma Valdez-Jimenez said. 

The new online services would be provided with the help of the Online Education Initiative, which colleges districtwide have been looking into.

Contra Costa College is not a pilot for these services. There was waiting on it to ensure it would be best for students and inquiring about the programs was made to other schools, Gibson said.

These services would be especially beneficial to students who take online classes only.

“(Receiving counseling services) is absolutely critical,” Gibson said.

Along with the flexibility given to students with limited time, this also allows for students to privately ask any questions they might not usually ask because of embarrassment or lack of time, STEM grant and METAS program Manager Mayra Padilla said.

One of the greatest things that will be made available to students is the opportunity to meet up with counselors without having to physically attempt the appointment, Dr. Padilla said.

There is plan to equip all counselors with webcams so that meetings with students can be done completely online, Technology Systems Manager James Eyestone said.

This would be done through the system CCC Confer, which campus faculty have used for years.

One of the goals is to look for ways to assist students who are not usually on campus so that they, too, can be provided assistance from counselors, Eyestone said.

Being able to ask tutors questions through D2L and have appointments with counselors online is a step toward assisting such students. However, there is an even greater vision for the online help that can be made available to students. It is the idea of creating a social network platform.

The platform would resemble social media and allow  students to be given additional guidance. It will be funded through the Student Success and Equity fund.

Along with that, the platform would move students along by helping determine eligibility for degrees and informing them of upcoming workshops.