“Let’s find a way to keep our students learning and our tutors earning.”
That was the motto adopted by St. Clair’s Retention Coordinators Irene Stewart and Marko Jovanovic when they were thinking of a way to maintain the College’s Tutoring Services in response to COVID-19.
“We wanted to find a way to keep tutoring going,” Stewart said.
The first online tutoring session was successfully delivered Tuesday by five tutors in Business, Computer Networking and Mobile Applications.
With on-campus lectures moving to an online delivery, the College’s Retention Coordinators wanted to ensure student would still be able to access tutoring services. But not in person.
Stewart and Jovanovic worked on a plan over the weekend and found a way using Blackboard, the College’s learning management system, to train tutors on Microsoft Teams’ video conferencing software.
Once the material was added on Microsoft Teams, tutors had an opportunity to practice making video conference calls with each other.
“We have been working with the tutors since Sunday and we’re going to keep doing it everyday until we get everybody trained,” Stewart said. “The feedback from the tutors was they couldn’t believe how easy it was.”
The College has 90 tutors and about half are now trained to use the software to do their jobs. The others will follow shortly. “The plan is to have the majority of our tutors ready for next week,” Stewart said.
More than 670 students were being tutored in 320 different courses, across all programs and campuses.
“Because students can ask for tutoring in up to three different courses, we actually had over 1,200 requests for tutoring we were dealing with,” Stewart said.
The tutors who are now trained have been contacting students assigned to them to offer their services through the new delivery method.
“From what I am hearing from my tutors, their students are very excited to know that there is still the possibility of getting support and this new way of meeting with tutors, we haven’t had anybody say, ‘no we don’t want to do it that way.’ They’re grateful for the opportunity.”
Stewart said it’s also important to maintain the service for the benefit of tutors. “For many of our tutors, this is their only job and they rely on it for rent, groceries and more. So not only is their school life impacted but their work life too.”
Stewart said the tutoring service will be open to any new student requiring the service. For more information, students can contact email@example.com.