The Online Tutor as
Cross-Curricular Double Agent

Refocused Research

Once we had discovered our seemingly best tutor's double agency, we briefly considered that the OWL might simply be a failure (at least from our Social Epistemic point of view). After that brief consideration, we decided to refocus our research.

We started by analyzing the student population using the OWL. Although the DSU OWL is available to all DSU students (and anyone with email for that matter), we found that the students who had used it the most were in Basic Composition. Usage by this population made up over 80% of the OWL requests. We knew that the Basic Composition teachers at DSU had encouraged use of the OWL and later found out that in several assignments, OWL use had been mandated. We then undertook a careful analysis of the Basic Composition course, hoping that this analysis would give us clues to why our tutors had become double agents. We also carefully examined the tutor training text and reviewed the tutor training pedagogy. Finally, we examined the electronic tutoring medium itself: electronic mail.