ESOL student discovers many eTutoring benefits

Feb 15, 2017
Berenice Watts found eTutoring especially helpful for writing assignments at MTC. 

Most would agree that having a second set of eyes review a paper or article is a useful, and crucial, step in the writing process. Taking a different view, especially one sharpened by more experience, others can find mistakes we missed, correct awkward phrases and make suggestions for clarity. Imagine how much more essential this process becomes when the paper you’ve written was not in your native tongue.

For Berenice Watts, a nursing student at Marion Technical College (MTC), eTutoring through eStudent Services helped her academic knowledge and understanding of the English language. Originally from Mexico, Watts is a native Spanish speaker. She became a frequent user of online tutoring while taking the prerequisite courses within Marion Tech’s competitive nursing program.

“English is actually my second language,” Watts said. “So for me, submitting writing projects to eTutoring really helped me out.”

Students at MTC can use online tutoring for anatomy and physiology, chemistry and any course that involves writing. Tutorial Services Coordinator Kathy Rice visits as many classes as she can at the beginning of each term not only to tell students about all the tutoring options at MTC, but also to lead them through signing-on to the eTutoring platform. Rice explains the program, including the difference between synchronous and asynchronous tutoring, and answers all the questions she can before classes get under way. She also has the voice of supportive professors, student advisors and peers echoing her sentiments about the benefits of tutoring.

“It’s a combination of lots of different people talking about it, pointing it out, re-pointing it out, and then students like Berenice who have used it and said, ‘No, this is a really good thing, you need to think about that.’ And we do have kind of a repeat performance that way – when people find success with it, then they’re more willing to go back out and use it again,” Rice said.

As more students use the vast academic support services on campus, they are seen less as remedial help and more as tools for achievement. With online tutoring, students can submit papers and questions at a time and place when they feel comfortable and still receive the extra support they need.

“I used to feel dumb when I asked a question, but I figured I’ll continue to feel dumb if I don’t ask them,” Watts said. “This is a learning process – if I don’t ask questions now, when?”

After finishing with her general education courses and prerequisite anatomy and physiology classes, Watts was accepted into MTC’s nursing program. Graduates of MTC’s nursing program in 2014 achieved a 96 percent pass rate on their licensure exams. Rice mentioned that many students travel from great distances to take part in the program.

“For Berenice, as an ESOL student, to be accepted into our nursing program and to do as well as she’s been doing is a really big feather in her cap,” Rice said.