Smarthinking Program Provides Tutoring to CU Students Around the Clock

For Immediate Release: 
Oct 05 2008

CONTACT: Anita Moody, Director, Public Relations/Marketing

Smarthinking Program Provides Tutoring to CU Students Around the Clock

Athens, W.Va. – Smarthinking is an online tutoring service available for students who attend Concord University. Smarthinking provides tutoring in mathematics (basic math through calculus), biology, chemistry, physics, economics, accounting, finance, statistics, Spanish and writing. Tutoring services are available around the clock. With Smarthinking, you can: connect with an “E-structor-certified tutor,” submit your essay or report for any class to their online writing lab, and submit a question and receive a reply from a tutor.

Chuck Kleiner, vice president for sales and marketing for Smarthinking, says he knows how stressful it can be when a student is up late and can’t figure out a problem. This is why providing the service “24/7” is essential.

“The tutors serving Concord’s students usually have a master’s or Ph.D. degree in their field, and the great thing is, that they’re available 24 hours a day,” he said. “We have tutors from around the world.”

Launched in 1999, Smarthinking has increased its university customer base within the past 10 years. Currently, Kleiner says, 300 universities in the U.S. and abroad use their services and many others use their services through a textbook partners program. Kleiner says the reason so many colleges have decided to purchase their services is because of the benefits that students can receive.

“There have been independent studies conducted by colleges that have used our services that state that students who use Smarthinking have higher pass rates, a higher level of retention and receive higher grades,” Kleiner said.

One of the interesting services is the Online Writing Lab. Students can submit their written essays and get them back, fully critiqued, within 24 hours. According to Kleiner, the paper is not rewritten or edited, but there are notes with suggestions for improvements or changes.

As for areas such as math or science, students can log onto Smarthinking and use what Kleiner calls “an advanced form of instant messenger” in the form of Whiteboard. This is where the student can directly communicate with the tutor just as they would on AIM (a popular instant messaging web site): they can also post graphs and math symbols as well.

Every session is archived and saved to the student’s file. This helps because a student can go back and reevaluate problems.

Concord University is providing the Smarthinking service as a result of a grant provided by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the agency responsible for overseeing the state’s public colleges and universities.

Anne Endres, a student at Concord from Charleston, just learned how to log into the system. “Logging in was simple,” she said. “I have a paper due in history, and I plan to submit a draft for review,” she said. “Word about this program will spread.” Endres is majoring in education and Spanish.

The Smarthinking service is being used in conjunction with other efforts implemented by the University including an “Academic Success Center” that was launched this year to help students learn and complete their degree, a University 100 course for all freshmen and transfer students, and a Parents Club to involve families in campus life.

“Any effort that contributes to a student’s success will contribute, in a positive manner, to the college-going rate in West Virginia,” stated Concord President, Dr. Gregory F. Aloia. “West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) has crafted a master plan, ‘Charting the Future,’ under which colleges and universities will pursue common goals. Although the goals, like improving the college-going rate or enhancing economic development initiatives are common, we are charged with crafting our own unique approach to achieving the goals set forth. I applaud Dr. Stephen Rowe, Dr. John David Smith, and the others at Concord responsible for this initiative.”


PHOTO: Two Concord students, Amanda Rama from Oak Hill and Anne Endres from Charleston, learn how to use “Smarthinking.” Anne is showing her friend, Amanda, a sociology major from Oak Hill, how to log into the system.

PHOTO: “Screen capture” of access point for Smarthinking on Concord’s web site.

Andrea Meador, a sophomore majoring in public relations, wrote this news release. Her hometown is Ghent.