Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Announcing Online Homework Help and Online Tutoring


Success Tutoring is announcing two new services which we are testing out. Both of these services will be provided online.

The two services are:

1) Online Homework Help
2) Online Tutoring

Yes, we are expanding and looking to provide online services in addition to our regular, in-person tutoring done at our center.

Why are we running these on a pilot basis?

We are known for having a very high level quality of service at our tutoring center. We get results and students that come to us like working with their tutors. That is why families come to us and that is why we get so many referrals. Well, we want to make sure that any online service we offer matches that level of quality in service. We want to make sure that, even online, we consistently get good results with students and they (and their families) are happy with our service. We think that would make us quite different from other online services. Most online tutoring services do not even have a telephone number to call so that you can talk to someone. You can’t ask about how they operate, you can’t find out about their tutors, you can’t ask why their service would be best for your kids, etc. Instead, some of these services may have a list of FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and some of them may provide text support, but none of them (especially not the larger ones) provide a telephone number to allow for direct telephone contact with a live person.

We find this level of service pretty frustrating. When considering a new service, we usually like to talk to a live person.

With these other services, while it may be convenient to be able to call at any time of day or night to get a question answered, we have found that these services usually just answer any immediate questions a student may have but they don’t really dig in to see if the student understands the underlying concepts so that they can actually master the current material.

That’s not how we operate. So, to make sure that our online service is at the same level of quality of service that we provide at our tutoring center, during this initial pilot (which will probably only last for a couple of weeks to a month or so), we will want to get a quality control feedback line in place so that we can speak with both the student and the parent to ask about how the service went and to see if they have any suggestions for improving it.

Who qualifies to try out these new online services?

For the homework help, we’re limiting it to only the subjects of Algebra 1 and Geometry at this time. Also, as we want to get regular feedback on how it’s going during this pilot, we’re limiting the number of participants to only five students at this time. We really want to make sure the service we provide is top-notch and is really helping students with what they need.

Once we’ve worked out the kinks and made whatever adjustments are necessary, we plan to open up our online homework help service to a larger number of students and also plan to expand the subjects to include pre-algebra, algebra (both I and II) and geometry.

For the regular online tutoring (see below for the difference between homework help and tutoring), we will accept students for all levels of math from middle school and high school up through students that are undergrads in college.

What is required to be able to do these online services?

As it is an online service, students would need a reliable computer or laptop with a webcam and microphone. The computer will also need to have Chrome web browser installed and in use during the tutoring session. The video application through which the tutor and student communicate only operates with Chrome web browser.

The other requirement is a good, reliable internet connection or Wi-Fi.

Oh yes, one last item will be needed - an email address. A link to the online session will be sent to that email address and the student will need to click on the link to open up the interactive whiteboard. Once the whiteboard is open, the student can access the video conferencing application which is used for live communication between the tutor and the student.

Note: A tablet won’t work because two windows are needed, one for the whiteboard and the other for the video conferencing application and that’s not always easy to set up on a tablet. (The program is not yet set up to operate on cell phones.) So, a desktop or laptop computer is needed.

Parents, please note: These online homework help sessions may be recorded for quality assurance. A parental consent form will be required.

Why are “Homework Help” and “Online Tutoring” listed as two separate services?

Well, we have found that “tutoring” can mean different things to different people. Tutors at some places just help students complete their homework. Submitting homework is usually a requirement for school but even if homework is done and turned in, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the student understands all of the concepts related to the homework assignment. It also doesn’t mean that the student has mastered the new material they just studied.

Other tutors may try to prepare students for upcoming tests by getting them to repeat information over and over again to try to get them to memorize it and be able to repeat it on a test or the tutor may have the student do some types of problems over and over again until they can do them in their sleep. But again, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the student understands the concepts and can actually use what he or she has studied.

As completed homework assignments submitted on time is a requirement, it is something that is often requested of us by parents. We do want to help families by helping students complete their homework, so we will be offering this service, but to us here at Success Tutoring, just getting homework completed is not tutoring.

So, our Online Homework Help service will help students complete their homework. With this service the tutor does not help with test preparation, nor does the tutor dig in to fully explain a subject; the tutor just helps students complete their homework assignments.

So, what does “tutoring” mean at Success Tutoring?

For us, tutoring means getting students to really understand their material - not just memorize it. That may involve finding earlier levels within the subject that the student has not yet mastered and which may be preventing the student from being able to fully grasp the current material. That means clearing up earlier levels of confusion and uncertainty, ensuring the student fully understands these earlier levels and then bringing the student forward to the current material and answering the student’s questions, clearing up anything they still don’t know or still feel shaky about and basically, getting the student to fully understand and master the material they are studying. Again, they should be able to use it and not just have it memorized. It means they can do something with it. Just memorizing a bunch of facts or being able to recall steps to take for solving a problem may help the student do better on a test, but it doesn’t mean they can actually use it.

  • Example: If a student has mastered fractions, they should be able to not only do well on tests for fraction problems, but they should also be able to use a recipe that was created to feed a large party of 12 people and adjust all of the ingredient measurements to create a dish that feeds a small get-together of only four people.
  • Example: If a student has understood geometry, again he or she should be able to do well on any tests, but should also be able to construct something physically, whether made of paper, wood or other material and use angle measurements to make it fit together well.
  • Example: If a student has understood the basics of grammar, sentence structure along with the basic essay format, he or she should be able to write an essay that communicates well and gets the point across to the intended readers.

There could be an infinite number of examples that can be used. The idea is that if a student understands their material, they should not only be able to do well on tests, but they should be able to use it. That’s what we call tutoring - getting the student to fully understand the material so that they can use it.

For details, or to sign up for one of our online services, please call our office at (818) 557-7379.

Thank you,
Success Tutoring

Monday, April 17, 2017

New paint on the building looks GREAT!

Renovations on our location which include new paint and a new sign!
Come visit us.
1825 W. Verdugo Avenue, Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 557-7379

Monday, March 13, 2017

Tutor of the Month
Susan Ochart

Success Tutoring is very lucky to have Susan on board as a tutor. As a teacher, her students loved being in her classroom because she not only made learning fun, but she really helped them to understand what they were learning - not just memorize it.
After retiring from teaching, Susan wanted to continue her life-long passion to help and educate children so she decided to work with students on a one-to-one basis.  As a tutor, Susan maintains the same philosophy and dedication she had as a teacher.  While making tutoring fun, she really makes sure that her students learn.  Susan works to make sure her students understand their material and can not only demonstrate increased skill in whatever subject they are studying but that they also exhibit increased confidence in their handling of the subject.
Below is a quote from Susan which outlines her philosophy:
“I am passionate about students really understanding what they are studying and why they are studying it; it is vital that they know how it applies to them and are able to show that they can use the data in life. Education can make all the difference in someone’s ability to handle and enjoy life.  It is an important purpose for me - to be able to help give students the best possible chance to succeed.”

Congratulations Susan, on being Tutor of the Month for Success Tutoring!
Vicky and Armando Salcido

Owners of Success Tutoring