01/11/12 — Learning center moving to online tutoring

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Learning center moving to online tutoring

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 11, 2012 1:46 PM

Academics Plus Inc. is expanding its services, moving from in-person tutoring to becoming an online tutoring company.

The newest program is called APlus50, said company President Dr. Ken Benton, who founded the learning center in Dunn in 1989. For years, it has been an approved provider for after-school and supplemental tutoring services in North Carolina and Virginia.

The move to an online presence is simply about keeping pace with educational trends, Benton said.

"We have been in Goldsboro since 1990 and we have been doing face-to-face tutoring all that time," he said. "As we started this venture, we began to modernize ourselves in terms of what's coming. This is something that's happening in the public schools all over the nation now."

The "hybrid curriculum," he said, features students spending part of the day with teacher instruction and another part online.

"As schools go more and more online, we offer more tutoring," Benton said.

Alecia Jones, director of online learning curriculum, was brought on board to help develop the APlus50 program.

"The main aspect of online tutoring is that the students and the tutors log in to the website," she explained. "They have direct, immediate contact with the tutor. They also have voice chat and communication."

One of the biggest advantages of the service is that it is offered 24/7, allowing a tutor to pair up with a student whose schedule is similar.

"We have over 30 tutors located all across the country, all based in the U.S., that have a master's degree or higher, and they all have teaching experience," Ms. Jones said. "We'll do SES -- supplementary educational services -- in some of the Title I schools, part of No Child Left Behind. But students don't come into (our) facility any more for tutoring."

In fact, of the 15 counties that Academics Plus is currently contracted to provide services for, this year Wayne County is not among them.

"With APlus50, we have two types of students we serve: For profit -- K-12 through college students who come onto our website and request tutoring, and college students contracted through universities," she said.

The business has already contracted with Mount Olive College and is in negotiations with other universities to provide similar contracts. And home-schoolers, virtual high school and distance learners, as well as adults, are also good candidates for the service.

"So much of our society is mobile, whether using a smart phone, tablet, iPad, and many students are going back to school," Ms. Jones said. "A large number of adult learners are going to online classes. Online education, online tutoring is an excellent supplement to assist those who are going back to school."

And, said Lisa Pyle, director of online marketing at Academics Plus, research shows that education is moving more and more online every day, which makes the service even more valuable.

"We're not saying it's going to replace going to school but research points to this being the wave of the future," she said. "We just really want to encourage people to learn more about it because in the future, (education) is going to be online like everything else we do."

For more information, call 735-7587 or visit www.aplus50.com.