Monday, September 15, 2008

Rio Salado tutors boost students' confidence

Before taking a math mid-term, a subject many find challenging, Rio Salado College student Anthony DeJulio knew just where to go to sort out tough equations.

DeJulio, 23, headed straight for Rio Salado’s Tutoring Center in Tempe to get one-on-one help from tutor Andrew Pyon.

“It’s probably (my) most challenging subject,” DeJulio said.

DeJulio is like many Rio Salado students who find the help they need to earn the grades they desire with the college’s tutoring services.

Any time day or night Rio Salado students who are stumped in a class can get help in a variety of formats.

Students can click, call or walk to get tutoring in a subject.

Rio Salado students can access a live chat tutoring session online to get instant feedback or they can e-mail questions to tutors, typically receiving responses within 24 hours. They may also opt for one-on-one, face-to-face guidance at the in-person Tutoring Center or call a tutor for assistance.

Tutoring services are free and no appointments are needed. Tutoring is offered in 20 subjects including the most popular – math, chemistry, accounting, computers, statistics, English and Spanish.

Students can access tutoring online in math, science, writing, economics and other subjects when they click on the SMARTHINKING link at their RioLearn class portals. Live chat tutoring in math is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and help is offered in other subjects several days a week, Dina Geiman, Rio Salado’s coordinator of Tutoring Services said.

Students are usually connected to the live chat SMARTHINKING tutor within seconds of logging on. If they prefer, students can schedule live chats with a tutor ahead of time.

In-person tutoring is offered at Rio Salado’s administrative headquarters in Tempe several days a week. Many of the tutors are Maricopa Community Colleges adjunct faculty and more than half have advanced degrees beyond a bachelor’s degree in the subject they tutor, Geiman said.

DeJulio said tutor Pyon helped him reinforce the math concepts he already knew and learn what he didn’t know already.

“I tried figuring it out (alone) and it wasn’t working,” he said.

DeJulio, who works as a bartender and is considering a business major, said Pyon had “pretty much just broken down and went step by step” in the math problems.

“It (math) is a hard subject for a lot of people,” said Pyon, who has a bachelor’s degree in bio-engineering. “A lot of times students come in and they know the answer but they lack confidence.”

“All of Rio Salado’s tutors have either teaching or tutoring experience and are experts in their subjects,” Geiman said. “Any time you need help you can sit down with a tutor or access tutoring online. Our department’s motto is, ‘Smart Students Use Tutors.’”

Rio Salado’s in-person Tutoring Center is open from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Tempe administrative headquarters, 2323 W. 14th St. Hours that tutors are available in specific subjects are posted at or available by calling 480-517-8247. Live-chat tutoring hours are listed when you click on SMARTHINKING on your RioLearn class portal.

Rio Salado College, one of the 10 Maricopa Community Colleges, offers more than 450 online classes. The college serves 60,000 students annually, including 31,000 online. Rio Salado offers degrees and career and technical certificates in business, computer technology, early childhood and teacher education, healthcare, law enforcement and more. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or go to