News: DoD offers free access to online studying aid
Story by Christine Cabalo
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Hawaii — Students of every age on base are finding solutions to their homework problems with free access an online study aid.
Free to active duty service members, the deployed and their families, Tutor.com is a 24-hour online service. A total of 108 users from Kaneohe Bay and Camp H. M. Smith libraries logged in to use the service last month.
“It really is a worthwhile, helpful tool,” said Derrick Kerr, school liaison officer, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. “It’s easy access with live chat assistance.”
During the live chat, users speak with a professional tutor. Help is available in several subjects, including math, social science and English. Kerr said students from the first grade to their second year in college could use the online aid.
The service also offers assistance for standardized tests, including the SAT and entrance exams for graduate school.
The service is available at no cost to anyone in the military community who is signed up as a Marine Corps library patron, said Murray Visser, Kaneohe Bay supervisory librarian, Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Once they are patrons, users then fill out a short form for Tutor.com and may gain access to the site within the next day. For Marines and sailors deployed without ready access to a Marine Corps base library, Visser said they can e-mail a Marine Corps librarian for a password.
After signing up, the service e-mails a password to users. The online aid is accessible at Marine Corps libraries or through any Internet-connected computer.
In December, the online aid tutored 1,513 sessions for Marine Corps sponsored students. Among them, 75 sessions were MCB Hawaii students seeking help for Algebra II, one of the online aid’s most popular subjects.
Needing help for her daughter’s math class graphing, Rosa Villegas, office automation clerk, MCB Hawaii Joint Education Center, tried the service. Villegas was impressed with the chat room and a shared digital whiteboard. Her daughter and the tutor can look at the problem together on the whiteboard and print out the results for later use.
“It’s been very helpful for [my daughter],” Villegas said. “She uses it once a week to help solve a problem.”
Kerr and Villegas said they both like how the service has professional tutors well versed in their expert subject matters.
“For parents concerned about people they don’t know interacting with their children, the people on the other end of Tutor.com are carefully screened,” Kerr said. “They’re professionals, and it’s all done in a secure manner.”
Unlike a web search where only the answer is posted, Villegas said she liked how the service still required her daughter to think through a problem. She likes how the service offers additional help developing the skills needed to succeed. The human element and its free availability make the service worthwhile for Villegas.
“Doing a problem with a tutor is great because you get to see how to work out the problem and go from there,” she said. “You have the opportunity to figure it out, and you’re not getting the answer alone.”