SLAC lab coordinator recommends Brainfuse as a study supplement

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Online tutoring offers one-on-one help.

By Travis Doyle

The five Alamo Colleges began offering BrainFuse, an online tutoring provider, this semester.

The program connects students to a live online tutoring session as a supplement to in-person tutoring on campus.

The sessions include one-on-one sessions with a tutor and communication with groups.

Brainfuse offers instant live tutoring for students to submit writing to be reviewed in an online writing lab, to build skills in college subjects and improve performance on the Accuplacer, Geraldo Guerra, coordinator of the student learning assistance center, said May 5.

He is the point of contact for Brainfuse at this college.

The program can be accessed under the student tab in ACES.

The district paid $72,000 for Brainfuse to be used at all five colleges.

The program also allows students to make online flashcards to use with online quizzes and games, to form online study group or schedule live sessions with peers or faculty and to record and email video for use in group work.

The program has online tutoring for math, writing, and reading 24/7.

Tutors are available 2 p.m.-midnight Monday through Sunday online for anatomy, physiology, biology, chemistry, physics, organic chemistry, accounting, economics, finance, statistics and Spanish.

The subscription to Brainfuse came about at the recommendation of the Alamo Colleges Online Academic Support Committee, which started meeting in spring 2014, Guerra said.

“Brainfuse was chosen over the other programs because of their platform,” Guerra said. “As our faculty, staff and students were testing the services, we found that their tutors were following the same guidelines our tutoring centers followed. We do not rewrite people’s essays, but we give them suggestions. We don’t do students’ homework, but we help them with it instead.”

The supplemental tutoring component uses an instant messenger system for students to message the tutors.

Guerra said 427 students at this college have used Brainfuse so far this semester.

“Brainfuse is there to assist students,” he said. “Tutoring is not a replacement for your class or you not going to classes, and they are here to supplement what your teacher is doing in the classroom.

“They are there to help you understand that one concept, that one problem that you are getting stuck on. Brainfuse is the same thing; it’s supposed to assist you in that one area.”

The SLAC lab where Guerra works is designed to help students type term papers, do homework assignments, get tutoring assistance and take makeup exams.

“The goal of the center is to provide students with the skill and ability to become a independent learner and research better,” Guerra said.

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