Tutor Iowa website one year stronger

BY MEGAN DEPPE | AUGUST 29, 2013 5:00 AM

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After one year of service, Tutor Iowa has experienced success while it strives to make improvements.

Last fall, the University of Iowa launched the Tutor Iowa website to help connect students with tutors for subjects they need extra help in. One year later, it is still actively helping students. 

Maureen Schafer, the associate director of adviser development and retention programs in the Academic Advising Center, said officiclas ther often refer students to the website when they need help.

“We are really a referral source,” she said. “Advisers just try to connect students with help.”

From Aug. 1, 2012 to May 18, more than 7,000 people logged on to the Tutor Iowa website. Since the beginning of the fall semester, there have been 913 new users of the website, as well as 1,500 visits total.

Stephanie Preschel, an academic resource coordinator, said that as of this past spring, Tutor Iowa offered 147 private tutors.

Preschel is responsible for all of the tutors on the website and oversees the program itself.

Tutor Iowa offers tutoring and supplemental courses for 342 different courses on campus.

Schafer said this is the first time an office on campus has put all of the helpful resources for students together.

“It’s more than just connecting students with tutors,” Schafer said. “It’s new and different.”

One-on-one consultations and technology services work on a first-come, first-serves basis, and students are responsible for connecting with their tutors and setting up times that work for them, as well as where they can meet on campus.

Claire Castaneda, a sophomore who has tutored for the program for one semester, said that the most helpful part of the program is the wide base it has.

“There’s lots of freedom when it comes to choosing tutors,” Castaneda said.

Before Tutor Iowa was put into place, students would either speak to their academic advisors or go to the information hub at the Iowa Memorial Union to be given a list of tutors for hire.

With the website, all private tutors are listed with their price-for-hire and subjects they are qualified to help teach.

The website also connects students to other resources the UI offers to help those who are struggling academically. Some of these resources include supplemental instruction and help labs.

With supplemental instruction students can meet in groups with a peer who is doing well in the specific course. The help labs are within specific departments and offer one-on-one consultations and technology services.

The services the website informs students of are listed by their cost, with the free supplemental instructions and help labs listed first, followed by the least expensive tutors.

“There’s always been a lot of help,” Schafer said. “Now it’s all in one place.”

Students are able to choose the course of action that is most helpful, both academically and financially, for them.

“It’s very easy to navigate,” Prechel said

Prechel said she is currently working to make students more aware of the site. All academic advisers refer their students to it, Schafer said.

Preschel agreed and said that the website is a great launchpad for resources.

Schafer said that she hopes more students will utilize Tutor Iowa for all it is worth to get the help that will work best for them.

“As a student, it’s hard to know what kind of help is out there,” Schafer said. “On the website, it’s easy to see different sorts of help.”

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