Dear Pay-for-Services Company Representative,
Consider this your notification to cease and desist contacting online tutoring about your for-pay services.
By now, you must have scanned enough of our resource center (also referred to as "resource guide" and "LibGuide") to have noticed almost every section (also called "tab") includes a small, italicized message message in the FAQ box. In part, the message states:
**To outside entities, no soliciting links or services from your business or organization. The purpose of our resource center is to help our students with their coursework. We do not help companies or organizations advertise their services.**
For any company providing part free, part for-pay services, we know your ultimate goal is for students using your free resources to eventually pay you for other services. If your company wants to promote services, it should buy advertisements on other websites and not try to use us for free advertising. You can also contact Procurement Operations at HCC.
Online tutoring's policy is not to accept unsolicited resources from businesses providing for-pay products. Entities at HCC and people in our community might think online tutoring and the college at large are endorsing a company or product. Also, it would open the floodgates for companies in Houston and in other states to send e-mails that essentially want us to promote their services.
The purpose of our resource center is to help students with their coursework at HCC and to supplement the feedback we give them on their assignments. Where web material has been pulled from college writing centers, I have made it a point to state those colleges in link titles and descriptions. If tutors have copied web material to Word documents, the URLs are included in the document.
Our materials have been vetted by our tutors, and most of them have taught or are teaching college courses at HCC or other colleges or universities. All tutors have graduate degrees, and some tutors (such as yours truly) have more than one. A few tutors are non-academic professionals who tutor for content and have knowledge of the writing styles for those disciplines.
We have an entire section devoted to our library system, Library Information. HCC librarians have created extremely detailed LibGuides for writing styles and plagiarism. Over the years, I have linked some of these resources in my own courses. Students can also find some of these free library resources in the Avoiding Plagiarism and Style Guides and Templates sections of our LibGuide. Librarians are available for virtual assistance, and now that campuses are reopening, students will be able to resume making appointments for one-on-one help in the library. Our facilities have style guides in reference sections.
If I discover a site in our LibGuide now has a pay option for most or all of its information, I remove the link. It has happened before, and I have no doubt it will happen again, which is why I check every link--websites, videos, and handouts--in our resource center twice a semester.
If you claim to offer free editing services, there is no way your company would be able to make money, without some sort of for-pay component. Should students want to pay for editing services or software, they need to find those for themselves, and I am sure they do. I can safely say the hourly rates for (frequent) personal editing by a person and not software are beyond the reach of an average college student.
Yes, we are tutors, not editors. We do not do not point out every instance, and we do not change everything for the student. We encourage students to use our resources and seek additional assistance from their professors and librarians. Some professors require students to purchase writing manuals, grammar guides, and one-time use writing platforms for their courses, so students can use our notes to review the materials for their courses. Unlike your company, every service we provide for our students is free, because we are not a business. Students do not pay extra for tutoring.
A final word. Do not think it would be clever to go above my head and directly contact the manager of online tutoring. This is departmental policy, and no one will make an exception for you. Everything--including this tab--appears in our resource guide, because either my direct supervisor or our boss has instructed me to post it. If your company's selling tactic is to use the hard-sell, we will block your company's e-mail. If necessary, your correspondence will be forwarded to the appropriate director(s) to deal with your company.
Ioanna Panos, Manager and Admin for Online Tutoring Resource Center
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