Running a tutoring program is no easy task. There’s scheduling, interviews, background checks, helping with lessons, and so much more. But did you ever stop to think about the work that affects other departments?
That’s one thing Derek Collins, Chair of Teaching and Learning at Lakeland College, noticed about their tutoring program before they decided to partner with Nimbus Learning. Not only did it take a ton of time for the person responsible with managing the program, but there was also support needed from their HR department and other members of the department.
Thankfully, Nimbus Learning provides an easy solution. We sat down with Derek to see how Lakeland used Nimbus Learning to cut back, big time, on the amount of time and effort it takes to run their tutoring program.
NL – How were you managing your peer tutoring program before Nimbus?
DC – We had a system that we used through our HR department to sign up tutors. Officially, they were done as individual contracts – you can imagine all the paperwork that involved.
Scheduling was managed through a spreadsheet. The person who looked after it just had a big sheet of paper and then would schedule tutors and match students with them. Eventually, we had to have a few more people on the team pick to up extra work because it was just too much.
Has Nimbus helped save your department time managing the Lakeland tutoring program?
Yeah, it was more than one person managing this program on top of what they were doing. It was quite a bit, and then you have to factor in the HR department doing all these contracts and then sending out checks once the hours were submitted.
Now we find maybe, at most, it takes one person a couple of hours a day – but that’s rare. Maybe at the start when there’s an influx of students and tutors.
I finished my duties in 20 minutes today.
Has the Nimbus platform helped your program be more efficient?
Oh, absolutely. Most of the students seem to be able to get onto the app no problem, whether they are a student or a tutor. Tutors take a little bit more work because we have to review their candidacy to be a tutor, so they’re waiting a little bit, but it’s still pretty good.
I like how the students can just connect with the tutor directly. That messaging is handled all within the system – we’re not sharing anything, so that privacy is maintained. That makes scheduling way easier.
There’s so many things I like about Nimbus. Being the chair of the department, I like being able to see the dashboard and track and see how it’s being used.
The funds are also managed through the app, which saves our HR department time too. The tutors have communicated they’re happy with how it’s deposited fairly quickly and easily. The way we do it is we front load: we give each student X amount of money. So that’s in the system already and most students aren’t paying anything; they can just book a tutor and are done.
What tips do you have for tutors using the Nimbus platform?
Making sure their availability is up to date. That’s probably the biggest one, remembering to make an updated schedule.
How do you intend to use the Nimbus platform to continue to grow your tutoring program?
There’s been a lot more demand for groups. I’ve noticed that some tutors are just spontaneously offering group sessions.
We have more of a demand for tutors than we have availability, so we end up with not enough tours generally. Encouraging more group sessions may be a way to facilitate more connections and support for students.
I’ve also taken a look at the mentorship platform. We could certainly see down the road expanding a mentorship program onto the platform.
About Nimbus Learning
Nimbus Learning works with the student success services at universities and colleges, to provide an end-to-end platform for easier access, more efficient management and receiving program insights for programs including tutoring, mentorship and study groups.
Organizations that have partnered with Nimbus Learning see on average 52% in time saved for administrators managing these programs and up to a two and half fold increase in student usage. 97% of students rate sessions booked and facilitated through the Nimbus platform 4.5 out of 5 stars or higher and report increases in grades.
The Nimbus platform can utilize anonymized data points such as current course grades, class attendance, demographics and more to develop a unique predictive score of academically at-risk students. This allows administrators to directly approach at-risk students instead of relying on them to seek help when it may be too late. This feature allows Nimbus to help schools better target at-risk students and significantly improve student retention.