Fort Bend County Libraries’ Brainfuse HelpNow (Homework Tutoring) program – which is online and accessible from home computers -- enables the library system to provide online homework assistance in a broad range of subjects in both English and Spanish for students in grades K through 12, free of charge.
This tutoring program is an Internet-based service that provides library patrons with live, on-demand homework help, seven days a week, from 2:00 to 11:00 pm. Certified tutors are experienced in Math, Science, Social Studies, and English/Language Arts. If live, real-time assistance is not needed, students may also submit questions any time of the day or night, and emailed responses will arrive within 24 hours.
Math tutors assist with basic skills, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, while science tutors are versed in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth-science subjects. Social studies tutors cover American history, world history, and political science. English/language arts instructors provide help with writing, reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary skills, as well as help in English literature. Tutors are also able to assist with Advanced Placement (AP) subjects and introductory college courses.
The program includes a 24-hour writing lab, which allows students to submit papers online to trained writing instructors at any time; students receive feedback within 24 hours. Writing experts evaluate the submitted paper and provide constructive comments with the aim of helping students become better writers.
In addition to homework help, the homework tutoring program offers a Skills Building section in which students may receive additional exercises to help them master the concepts being taught in their homework lessons. Skills-building lessons involve one-to-one sessions with live instructors. These tutors utilize a library of field-tested, state-aligned lessons, including age-appropriate content, reading passages, simulated test questions, and worksheets to help students master key academic areas.
Students may access this resource from any computer by going to the library’s website, clicking on the “Research” tab on the main webpage, and then selecting “Homework & Tutoring.”
To engage in the “Expert Help” section, type in the barcode number from a FBCL library card and then enter the Live Tutoring area or the SkillSurfer area. There is no time limit to the sessions. The first time patrons utilize the service from home, they may receive a prompt requesting that they install ActiveX software from the Brainfuse website.
A new feature in the Live Tutoring section is the ability to add audio for a real-time conversation with the tutor. After selecting the grade level and subject, simply click on “Preferences” and select the box for audio. Upon connecting to a tutor, click the phone icon that appears beside the tutor's name, and choose the desired option. Please note, the "My Computer" option works best with a headset and microphone.
Patrons may choose to complete an optional registration form. Completing this registration allows the user to submit papers for feedback, to receive emailed responses, or to review old sessions. While an email address is needed if the user wishes to submit questions or receive feedback, it is not necessary to have an email address to take advantage of the live homework help during the scheduled hours that the service is available.
The Brainfuse HelpNow service now also offers assistance for students and parents who would like assistance completing the FAFSA form for college financial aid. This service is available Monday-Thursday, from 1:00-10:00 pm.
All tutors are required to have a four-year college degree and to undergo extensive background and reference checks. They are also subject to a rigorous selection-and-training process, multiple screening interviews, and skills-testing. Ongoing monitoring of online sessions ensures security and instructional quality.
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