Virtual tutor support using SMARTHINKING: preliminary findings

McDonell, Jennifer; Parkes, Mitchell and Tynan, Belinda (2010). Virtual tutor support using SMARTHINKING: preliminary findings. In: ASCILITE 2010: Curriculum, Technology & Transformation for an Unknown Future, 5-8 Dec 2010, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, pp. 595–603.



The University of New England (UNE) has been using a virtual tutoring service called SMARTHINKING since 2007. UNE explored the use of a 'virtual tutor service' to support distance education students in their academic development; to reduce attrition; and to provide academic support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to all students with access to a computer irrespective of geographical location. A cascading selection of units across different disciplinary areas and cohorts of students were targeted for the virtual tutorial support service over 6 semesters to provide rich data. A survey consisting of 20 questions was developed and implemented at the end of each teaching period. Preliminary analysis of data indicates that SMARTHINKING appears to be making a difference to student learning outcomes. However, while uptake tends to be low in all cohorts but where students select to use the service they are positive about its effects.

Viewing alternatives

Item Actions