Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Henri Moser, Learning Specialist

Henri Moser, Ed.D. offers tips on online tutoring for graduate studentsDr. Henri Moser is a Learning Specialist with the Student Academic Success Center at UNE Online. He presents online workshops to groups and works one-on-one in live videoconference sessions with our graduate students, working with them on subject-specific tutoring for statistics and research, as well as graduate-level learning strategies.

Can you tell me a little about your background and what drew you to working with students at SASC?

For 15 years I taught public school, kindergarten through eighth grade. When my family and I moved to Maine, I expected to continue teaching kids, but immediately learned about this job, teaching college and graduate-level material. I found the transition easy, and I quickly became pretty interested in adult learning theory – plus I was pretty happy to be able to go to the bathroom whenever I wanted.

At once I became interested in adult learning, and quickly realized that needs for a 27 to 67-year-old and a child in school aren’t that different, in terms of learning strategies and how to present content. I was interested enough that I completed an Ed.D. here at UNE in an online program and completed my dissertation on online graduate student satisfaction.

So what kinds of tutoring do you provide to students?

I primarily work with our online graduate student population, specializing in two areas: I do a great deal of subject-specific tutoring of statistics and research, and I advise students of graduate-level learning strategies. 

Can you talk about what you mean by subject-specific tutoring?

For example, in the Social Work program, I work with students in 503 and 504 which is their research course sequence. I guide them through the process of choosing a topic, then moving to a research question and where the literature review fits in there. Additionally, I assist in the design of the student’s qualitative or quantitative study and ultimately offer support in coming up with the results and conclusions. As another example of subject-specific content tutoring, I work with some of the Education students and on their Action Research Project.

Definitely across the programs, when it comes to research assistance, it’s about writing the literature reviews and, and coming up with research proposals and teaching students the understanding of what grad-level research is and how to apply that understanding to what they have to do for their assignments.

And then there are a couple of specific classes where I tutor statistics. One is biostatistics for the Public Health program, and another one is APN 610, the Applied Nutrition research course where they have to integrate statistics into their coursework. I spend quite a bit of time with GPH Biostats and APN 610 students.

You mentioned that you teach learning strategies too. Can you talk about that?

About half of my time is spent on learning strategies and what it means to be a graduate student. We get a lot of nontraditional students in the online sphere. Many of them come in not having been in school for 20 years or more, so they have some serious questions about how to be successful as a graduate student. They’re out of practice, but they’re very amenable to learning new information on how to become a better student.

The three big areas that I’ve found to be the most useful are:

  • How to use research, and its role in writing
  • How to properly format graduate-level writing assignments
  • What to expect as an online grad student

Many students initially come to me wanting to be able to study better, but at the core, that’s not where they need the help. Sure, I help them come up with strategies to study more efficiently and how to read with a purpose, but the underlying skills that we work on the most center on how to access and use scholarly research, and how to apply that information to guide their responses and address the given writing prompts and purposes. We discuss the fact that they are responsible for demonstrating new understandings of the content to faculty through their writing.

A big piece of teaching students what it means to be a grad student is helping them come to the realization that school work is no longer centered on what they already know.

Rather, it’s more about what they are learning and how they are going to synthesize that information and apply it to what they are learning. 

Time management is also a big part of learning online, isn’t it?

Time management and self-discipline are two very important aspects of being successful as an online student. I can tap into my years as an elementary teacher for this, in terms of coming up with a plan, and then being disciplined and sticking with the plan. It’s simple – but essential to being successful as an online student. A quick hint I offer is to set time spent working as a goal, rather than project/assignment completion.

What is an online tutoring session like for graduate students?

We do our meetings through live videoconferencing on the platform ZOOM. This enables us to further connect and build relationships with our online grad students in a live setting. Prior to meetings, I will confirm, via email, with students, and let them know they do not have to download anything, only hit the blue link that says “Join Meeting as Attendee.”

Your dissertation was on online learning, wasn’t it?

It was. And as a result, I’m able to bring a lot of expertise to the learning strategies piece of my work. I was a student in the online doctoral program here at UNE, so I really understand the online learning dynamic. Even though I have since graduated and earned my Ed.D., I still understand a lot of what the students are going through in terms of their relationship with faculty, their relationship with each other, and their relationship with the content.

My dissertation was about the relationships between students’ relationships with faculty, each other, and the content, and how live interaction can affect those three entities. Although the programs are asynchronous and that’s convenient and flexible, through my research I have become a believer that the more synchronistic opportunities we can offer, like tutoring sessions and faculty office hours, the better the student satisfaction and ultimately, the better the student performance.

What should a student do to prepare for a visit with you?

Well, it depends on the type of meeting we are having. If it’s a learning strategy meeting I recommend that students focus on a couple of things that they think that they would like to improve upon. Maybe it’s time management, or reading with a purpose, or tips on better methods of researching, things like that.

For tutoring appointments, it’s always good when the students come prepared with specific skills they want to work on. If it’s adding data into SPSS, that’s a skill. If it’s choosing what kind of statistical analysis or which hypothesis test needed for a particular research question, that’s the skill.

Bring your questions and we’ll tutor you in those specific skills.

What do you like best about tutoring UNE Online graduate students?

I love seeing students grow. For example, I’ll see someone who comes in really stressed out and frustrated, we’ll talk about what they need, work on improving their learning strategies and work on their skills, and they leave with improved understanding and a whole new outlook on their schoolwork. Sometimes that happens in just one appointment, but usually, it takes a series of appointments. Either way, there’s a satisfying feeling of accomplishment at the end of it.

The different programs and fields that the students are in make it pretty easy to want to help them as well. I work with social work students, public health students, and education students – and you talk about people who are actually affecting change out there, it’s those three fields. So that’s just naturally motivating on my end.

Social workers, public health professionals, and teachers are actually out there every single day making the world better, and I get to be a part of helping that happen.

Dr. Moser could help you earn your graduate degree! Download our guide to find out which online program is right for you:

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