Smart Thinking: 24/7 online service for students

There is a new, free online tutoring service for students offered at Cerritos College who need a few extra hours of tutoring for their classes.

Smart Thinking, the name of the company who is providing the online tutoring, is a service that is available 24/7 for any student who is either taking an online course or whose professors enable it for them through TalonNet.

Carl Bengston, dean of library and educational technologies and acting dean of academic success, said, “We in the Success Center had talked about [Smart Thinking] to support our distance education program, or online courses, because we’re supposed to have equivalent services available to students in Distance Ed courses, as the ones in face-to-face courses.”

According to Bengston, in order for Cerritos College to receive its accreditation, there needs to be equal services offered to all students.

There are many students that take online courses at Cerritos College, either because they chose to take those classes or they cannot get to school for any reason. Smart Thinking is supposed to try to reach out to the students who need the extra help in their courses.

“Tutoring is one thing that’s accessible for face-to-face students. They’re on campus, they come to the Success Center and they get tutored. Our Distance Ed students, some of them live a distance and it’s not easy for them to get to campus or maybe impossible for them to get to campus, depending on what they are doing, but they need to have access to tutoring as well,” Bengston said.

The service is running a trial right now to test out and see if this is something that will be continued to be offered to students and to see how the faculty feels about continuing it.

Smart Thinking will not be available to every student. Professors who are teaching face-to-face courses will be able to enable the setting through TalonNet in order for their students to access it.

It will be up to professors on whether or not they will allow the service to be accessible for their course.

If a student has at least one class where the professor decides to use the program, then the student will have full access to Smart Thinking and will be able to use it.

As of now, the students are limited to five hours per term for tutoring, and the school, which is funding the entire program, will receive feedback from Smart Thinking and see how students are using the program.

“If students use up the five hours and still needs more tutoring, they can come into the Success Center or if that’s not possible then we will make arrangements to provide more tutoring to get them where they need to be,” Bengston said.

Students around campus had mixed feelings about the program.

“I believe that Smart Thinking will be a useful tool because most of the time when you try to get different information on assignments and how to do things, the professors aren’t available all the time, so I think it will be good that the service will be available 24/7,” Jasmine Dennis said.

Mario Alarcon, an interpreting major, felt that it was unfair that students who aren’t taking an online course or whose professors don’t enable the program for their class, won’t have access to the service.

“I think it’s a good idea that students are going to be able to have a one-on-one with the instructor and they’re going to be able to get really good help,” Alarcon said.