Before partnering with Nimbus in 2018, the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) previously did not have a peer tutoring program. Built as part of an initiative with that season’s Student Union, UMSU has seen their tutoring program grow to over 1000 users, including both tutors and students.

We spoke to Patrick Arevalo, the Peer Tutoring Coordinator who has been with the UMSU tutoring program since 2018. Patrick says that Nimbus has been useful for quickly and efficiently taking care of matching students with the appropriate tutors, scheduling sessions, and handling payments. Because these day-to-day tasks are taken care of, Patrick is able to focus on growing and improving the UMSU tutoring program.

When did UMSU first start using Nimbus?

UMSU started using Nimbus back in 2018 – we struck a deal around summer or August that time. I came into the picture October 2018 so by the time I got the peer tutoring coordinator position UMSU already had Nimbus.

So you came in and Nimbus was already integrated with your tutoring program?

UMSU didn’t have any tutoring program to start with; it was an initiative that one of the student executives wanted to add to UMSU’s services.

With all the things the Peer Tutoring Coordinator has to do – you know, be on standby for any issues…or other admin sort of work without actually having to worry about, okay, I have a tutor at this course. [I don’t have to worry if] I have a student that’s looking for a tutor for this course, to match them, get them in contact with each other, how they are going to meet up, how they are going to pay, and things like that.

“[I don’t have to worry if] I have a student that’s looking for a tutor for this course, to match them, get them in contact with each other, how they are going to meet up, how they are going to pay, and things like that.”

How big is your tutoring program now?

I did a year end summary recently, so in terms of actual user sign-ups – tutors and students included – we have over 1079 users. So it’s definitely grown a lot; our first year it was only around about 400 users. And this whole year we increased both our tutor and our students’ sign up.

How does Nimbus help your tutoring program?

I talked a little bit about that whole pairing up process – Nimbus has a beautiful system for doing that. And it also helps me out because I have an admin console. And in that admin console I can actually monitor each and every lesson that comes up there. You know, if they were cancelled, if they were declined, if either the tutor or the student doesn’t show up. It’s all there and it’s a very convenient console for me to use and see how many lessons we got this week, how many of those lessons were completed, how many sign-ups that we got this week.

That kind of like gives me a sense of the progress and of the success of the program in real time.

Also, Nimbus has a fantastic customer support system. I think it was Joshua Cait who is one of the guys that is looking at the customer support feature for UMSU’s peer tutoring programs, so whenever a student seeks support under our program…I think it’s Josh who picks it up and then answers it and if he has any trouble then he’ll come to me.

And yeah, it’s just great. I can focus on other things. And, yeah, it’s fantastic. It’s a good program. It’s awesome. I honestly feel like my job would be more of a nightmare if we didn’t have this online tutoring medium to carry out the peer review program.

What do your tutors think of the program?

They’ve all said the same thing: generally very positive reviews, and it’s nice how students can just [book them] and then they only have to worry about what they need to prepare. They said that the app itself is very nice, works smoothly…It’s easy to use. They’re generally very happy about it.

And what do your tutors say about the program?

Actually, the things that I hear from the students are generally reviews about their tutors. So Nimbus sends me an email whenever there’s a new student review. So, I’ve seen very positive reviews about students and about their tutors.

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