The purpose of this paper is to describe synchronous, remote tutoring for the Deaf STEM Community Alliance's virtual academic community (VAC). The alliance addresses critical barriers for students who are deaf or hard of hearing (D/HH) in postsecondary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors.
A mixed-method approach (qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistics) documents project activities.
Google+ Hangouts was used for remote tutoring. Participants completed 57 tutoring sessions. Participants found tutoring beneficial, especially for its convenience. Technical assistance and feedback systems were created to support participants. Grade point averages (GPA) and retention remained stable.
Research on this project continues. Small sample size is a limitation of the study. Ongoing research investigates how remote technology and social media impact learning for students who are D/HH.
Scholarship on social media for educational purposes is minimal. While specifics of particular social media platforms vary, recruitment, technical assistance, and establishing feedback mechanisms are common issues for VACs. Outcomes from this study will be used to improve this VAC and create documentation for replication.
The Deaf STEM Community Alliance provides supportive resources to underrepresented students in STEM majors. Improved GPA and retention in STEM majors will generate more individuals qualified for STEM careers. Research on VACs creates opportunities to understand how technology and networked communities change knowledge and learning.
The Deaf STEM Community Alliance is a unique project for postsecondary students in STEM fields who are D/HH. The information is valuable to educators interested in using social media for instruction.
Support for this project comes from the National Science Foundation, HRD-1127955.
B. Elliot, L., Rubin, B., J. DeCaro, J., William Clymer, E., Earp, K. and D. Fish, M. (2013), "Creating a virtual academic community for STEM students", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 173-188. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-11-2012-0051
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