What did universities say when they had a chance to 'ask us anything' at the STARS conference; + other updates in education.
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Motivation, confidence and grit make all the difference
Why should I trust you? And other questions answered  |  Sufficient? Necessary? The role of the Bachelor’s degree in today’s employment market  |  How to predict confidence for better grades  |  STEM expert's plea to support educators  |  Tools of the trade for students  |  Life as an online brain

Dear there

“Why should we trust you?” And other questions.
A Q&A session at the STARS conference in Adelaide answered some of our most frequently asked questions live on stage. Dr Lesley Halliday, head of our Academic Services department, and one of our expert tutors, Helga Fischer were kind enough to put it all on the table. Here is the summary of the questions from universities about the academic integrity of our subject-specialists and processes.

Sufficient? Necessary? What's the Role of a Bachelor's Degree in Today's Employment Market?Writing for The Australian Weekend Professional on 1 July, our founder Jack Goodman explored why, with student fees on the rise, universities need to show their value to remain relevant in the fast-changing modern world. “The split between “campus based” and “online” students is blurring and forward-looking academics are now considering all of their students “digital learners.” Students are spending less time on campus and more time on phones and laptops. To meet their needs, universities need to rethink how they deliver their courses so that students stay engaged and develop employable skills.”

YourTutor support shows 20% variance in student outcomes
In a June study, academic confidence attributed to YourTutor positively accounted for 20% of the variance in students’ self-reported grades (Lee and Hanham, June 2017, Western Sydney University). “YourTutor can be considered a valuable instructional aid for improving students’ academic confidence which, in turn, can contribute to improvements in student grades.”

Reaching national STEM goals will require extra support
“Academic success has been linked directly with student confidence, so to truly improve Australia’s STEM landscape, there has to be significant support provided,” said Dr Chris Tisdell, Associate Dean of Science at UNSW and member of YourTutor’s Academic Advisory Board, speaking to the Adelaide Advertiser last week.

Road-test of writing tools students use
With increasing international enrolments, widening participation trends, and the mobilisation of all students, accessible, digital education tools are going to be an increasingly critical part of every degree. We road-tested a few of the most commonly-used writing tools - what’s the output of each tool for students? Read more: The top tools for essay success.

Silence is golden; except in empty lectures
You might have seen this story in The Age last week. Perhaps we all agree it’s sad that students didn't give the lecturer a chance to deliver his expertise; yet, it remains an indication of our changing times and the different expectations of today's students. How has lecture-delivery changed since 1950? An organisation that finds one of its core services is of no interest to its customers would be wise to investigate - as a matter of the highest urgency - alternatives that do meet customer expectations. To do otherwise is to court disaster.

Life as an online brain
In a survey to our entire network of subject-specialists, we asked, why do you help students online? Over 80% of our tutors are published, via papers, peer reviewed publications, books, conference and research papers; helping students online with us is another feather in an already prestigious cap. Read their responses here.

Book Review: Matt Ridley's 'The Rational Optimist'
I felt compelled to optimism after reading Sapiens with colleagues recently, so this book seemed like a fitting follow-up read. Ridley posits that the growing interconnectedness of humanity is to the benefit of our species - accelerating us at an incredible, unprecedented rate. You can read more over on the blog.

Business advice to EduTech start-ups: For love not money
For several months, YT founder Jack Goodman has been mentoring EduTech start-ups. He writes in Business Insider about avoiding venture capital for as long as possible, and what drives a startup to success without it: “If you enjoy every day you’re working on your project, and you’re able to build a team of like-minded colleagues who find your mission compelling and energising, chances are you’re on your way to building something of great value.”


We’ve never been about ‘traditional’ tutoring, and online education is growing exponentially. So we’ll soon be changing our name - leaving behind ‘YourTutor’ - to one that reveals the excitement and value to students and university partners. Same service, new name; from 31 August.  


Best regards,

Chris Fitzpatrick
General Manager, Asia Pacific