by Paula Wesson, Staff Writer
It’s ten at night and you are dreading your test tomorrow. You still do not understand all the material and it is too late to have your questions answered. Actually, it is not too late.
According to Assistant Director of Academic Services, Karen Shoenborn, “Cedar Crest added Smarthinking to complement our existing slate of academic support and to meet students’ needs for flexible and online support options.” Simply log into your MyCedarCrest account to get started with Smarthinking tutoring.
In the Current Students tab, click on Academic Services on the left-hand side. You can also use this page to schedule appoint- ments with the Writing Center, request or evaluate a peer tutor, find information about and forms for Disability Services, find links for help writing, and find information for ESL. For now, scroll to “Smarthinking Access”. When you open the link, you may get a notice that a pop-up window was blocked. You can store this as a permanent exception or click “show” each time you login.
When you get to your Smarthinking home page, you will see your options for getting your questions answered. You can choose to connect with an “e-structor” live, schedule a later session with an e-structor, or submit a question which an e-structor will respond to usually within 24 hours. You can also submit essays and résumés in English and in Spanish. You can submit questions in a wide variety of topics from accounting to geriatric nursing.
Schoenborn noted that this website is currently predominantly used by nursing majors because there are e-structors for var- ious nursing specialties. When a first year nursing major, Hanna Polster, learned about Smarthinking, she said, “I think Smarthinking is really cool and I will definitely use it in the future.”
Because not all of the e-structors are logged in at one time, you cannot always connect to an e-structor in all of those subjects. This is when pre-scheduled sessions can be helpful. However, they only last 30 minutes whereas live instruction lasts how long you need it to. Think of these as tutoring sessions. If you just have one specific question you want answered, you can just submit it and wait for a response.
No matter which way you choose to have your question answered, you will use what they call a whiteboard, which is like the computer program Paint. You have pencil and eraser tools. You can draw a text box, lines, or shapes. This can be helpful when drawing molecules for a chemistry question.
It takes some playing around with, however. Marie Nocheck, a junior Integrated Art with a Biology concentration and English with a writing concentration duel major, commented, “It’d be nice if they had training sessions like they do for OrgSync.”
Nocheck uses it to receive critiques on her writing. In about 24 hours, an e-structor responds with suggestions for thesis, content, organization, even grammar and spelling. Nonetheless, you should not rely on this service.
Cedar Crest College only pays for each student to receive 240 minutes of tutoring per school year. This is enough for help on only five essays, and less if you use their other services. You can check how many minutes you have left under the My Account tab in Smarthinking.
There is no limit to how many times you can visit the on-campus Writing Center. You should also consider asking your teacher or an on-campus tutor for help with your coursework. Save your Smarthinking minutes for times when that just is not possible.