The Online Tutor as
Cross-Curricular Double Agent

The Electronic Interface

Since discovering the prevalence of "fix-it-shop" pedagogy in our online tutoring, we have seriously considered changes in the electronic interface. As we pointed out earlier in this text, our asynchronous "email technology itself may promote 'one shot' interactions."

Electronic communication programs that allow for synchronous interaction may make collaborative tutor/student exchanges more common. Several online writing labs and electronic tutoring projects are using synchronous communication programs such as MOOs, MUDs, or programs like CommonSpace which allows for sychronous chat in one window while tutor and client simultaneously view the client's text in another window.

Because our student population is familiar with email, and we believe we can make email serve our goals with better tutor training and changes in course pedagogy, we have decided to stay with email as an electronic interface for the present. We are continuing to research what is being published about online tutoring using different communication programs and are keeping in close touch with our colleagues who are using and investigating the effectiveness of different electronic resources.