Schools Looking to SMARTHINKING to Help to Help Improve Students Writing & Save Money

May 5, 2002

Having won a prestigious grant from the Pew Grant Program on Course Redesign from the Center for Academic Transformation, Tallahassee Community College (TCC) contracted with SMARTHINKING to help them improve success rates and decrease the workload for their faculty who teach the required College Composition course. Under the redesign, TCC is using technology to supplement classroom instruction and provide students with individualized learning plans; including interactive tutorials in grammar, mechanics, reading comprehension and basic research skills; and mid-stage draft critiques by SMARTHINKING’s e-structors (tutors). The redesign efforts will result in a reduction in the cost per student from $252 to $145 — an estimated savings of 43%. In addition, the faculty members feel that quality of the draft responses by the SMARTHINKING e-structors will lead to improved writing and improved rates of success in the course.

“Both the teachers and the students are pleased with the high quality of the responses from the SMARTHINKING writing tutors,” said Dr. Patrick McMahon, TCC English Faculty and Project Director. “The SMARTHINKING tutors provide exactly the type of responses the faculty would on mid-stage drafts, freeing up the faculty and the on-campus writing center to work on higher order concerns.”

Other campuses, such as Isothermal Community College in Spindale, North Carolina find SMARTHINKING’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) to be a cost-effective alternative to building out an on-campus writing lab where one does not currently exist.

“We are able to address our students’ writing needs across the curriculum without creating the management infrastructure, quality control and staffing for an on-campus writing lab,” said Dr. Willard Lewis, President of Isothermal Community College. “SMARTHINKING’s qualified, trained and monitored tutors allow us to provide our students with the high quality writing instruction that we demand at a savings of over $20,000 per year.”

Students appreciate the ability to receive individual instruction in a convenient manner. Students submit their papers to a general writing, English for Speakers of other Languages (EsoL), business and technical writing, or creative writing specialist for critique usually within 24 hours. Real-time writing and grammar assistance is also available.

“The people at Smarthinking gently point me in the right direction. While helping point out my weaknesses, they are extremely encouraging in their approach. This has been wonderful, as it is easy to get discouraged while writing these research papers,” said Sharona Carlson, a student at Bakersfield College, CA.


SMARTHINKING provides people, technology, and training to help educational institutions offer outstanding academic support to their students. From licensing its learning support technology to managing and staffing an entire online tutoring program with qualified and trained tutors, SMARTHINKING provides a customized solution for its clients’ learner support needs. SMARTHINKING currently serves over 225 secondary and post-secondary institutions. Visit SMARTHINKING at