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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:West Virginia University Research Corporation
  • Nicole Engelke-Infante
  • (304) 293-3998
  • Deborah A Moore-Russo
  • Lori Ogden
Award Date:03/01/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 307,040
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 307,040
  • FY 2021=$307,040
Start Date:03/01/2021
End Date:02/28/2023
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:Identifying & Implementing Evidence-Based Online Tutoring Practices: Online Practices for Tutoring In Mathematics Using Meaningful Interactions
Federal Award ID Number:2043918
DUNS ID:191510239
Program Officer:
  • Michael Ferrara
  • (703) 292-2635

Awardee Location

Street:P.O. Box 6845
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:West Virginia University
Street:94 Beechurst Ave
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

This project addresses the national need to provide support systems that enhance undergraduate STEM learning. It will do so by investigating best practices for online tutoring in college mathematics. Face-to-face tutoring in mathematics is known to correlate with positive learning outcomes including higher course grades, greater persistence, and improved retention. Providing quality online tutoring experiences also benefits for tutors by helping them learn valuable skills such as organization, time management, teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, and technical communication. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many university-based tutoring services to either stop offering help to students or move online. Many chose to move online. However, the effective implementation of online mathematics tutoring is not yet well understood. Such understanding is important because online mathematics tutoring could benefit students long after the current pandemic has dissipated. Preliminary observations have shown that online mathematics tutoring sessions typically serve as a homework service: tutors solve problems brought to them by students and the students watch and copy down the solutions rather than actively participating. This study aims to make the online tutoring experience more like the in-person experience by discovering ways to ensure students are active participants in tutoring sessions. Through continued observation of online tutor-student interactions, the project will identify tutor behaviors that encourage greater student participation in online tutoring sessions. The project will then design training materials to promote the most effective behaviors in tutors. These training materials will be freely distributed to the mathematics education community through workshops, conference presentations, and online resources. This project’s online tutoring model will be tested and refined at West Virginia University and the University of Oklahoma, two large universities that server large populations of students. The project will identify tutor practices that promote student-centered online tutoring interactions and generate training materials to optimize the frequency of such interactions in online tutoring sessions. Recorded online tutoring sessions will be analyzed using inductive and deductive thematic analysis to identify tutor behaviors that promote student-centered tutoring interactions. Pen and tablet technologies will be utilized and compared to online sessions without such tools to study specific impacts on tutor practices and student engagement. Through multiple cycles of observation and implementation, a set of empirically tested training materials will be developed, including a Tutoring Manual for tutors and a Training Guide for tutoring center leaders/faculty. The Training Manual for tutors will contain resources such as technology suggestions (e.g., best collaborative whiteboard app; how to use your phone as a document camera; apps to scan written work to pdf), articles to read, and how to be an effective virtual coach. The Training Guide for faculty will provide resources such as how to host a one-day training before the semester starts, how to support tutors during the semester, and how to evaluate online tutoring offerings. This project is funded through the NSF IUSE:EHR program and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The IUSE: EHR Program supports research and development projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM education for all students. Through the Engaged Student Learning track, the program supports the creation, exploration, and implementation of promising practices and tools. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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