Removing 'Friction' from the Online Tutoring Experience: Perspectives for Online Degree Programs

Concurrent Session 1
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

This workshop explores 'friction' as experienced by Learning Centers when serving online degree programs. All tutoring perspectives will be examined (students, tutors, administrators). We will also discuss how Dooley's 2019 publication, Friction: The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage, informs our work.


I have been the Director of the Math & Science Resource Center at Indiana University East since 2004. I have been a math mentor/tutor for over 20 years and a math instructor for the Mathematics Department for more than 15 years.

Extended Abstract

What are the reasons your students might not be taking advantage of online tutoring? Is the burden of 'friction' sending shock waves, or maybe just rubbing them the wrong way? Will asynchronous or synchronous tutoring be the path of least resistance for your Center? Roger Dooley (2019) defines 'friction' as "the unnecessary expenditure of time, effort, or money in performing a task" (p. xix).

In this workshop presentation, we will explore the most common areas of 'friction' that many Learning Centers experience, especially when serving online distance education programs. We will address some of the ways that Centers can work to eliminate 'friction'. We will discuss methods used by Indiana University East to minimize the friction burden for online student users. With a user friendly platform and careful staff training about 'customer experience', some friction has been moved away from the student experience onto Center staff.

All perspectives of the individuals involved in tutoring will be examined whether they be students, tutors, administrators, or technical support personnel. We will also discuss Roger Dooley's publication, entitled Friction: The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage, which contains insights from the Director of Online Education at IU as it relates to online students.

Participants can expect to leave this interactive presentation with three actionable ways to work on their programs in order to provide their students with a more positive outlook after each tutoring interaction.