Mabee Library is offering 24/7 tutoring services for students. This will help meet their availability requirements through a new agreement between the library and the online tutoring service provider, TutorMe.com.
A longstanding problem for Washburn students has been their struggle to find time to access one of the many tutoring programs available on campus. Students’ commonly odd schedules can prevent them from finding a good time to seek help from tutors, especially during the evening and nighttime hours.
The pandemic caused face-to-face tutoring services at Washburn to experience a massive decline. The growing fear over the virus’ spread and method of transmission brought tutoring services to a standstill.
The library’s recent deal with TutorMe seeks to change these circumstances by giving students the opportunity to access 24/7 tutoring support without ever having to meet anyone in person or set foot on campus.
“We struggled all summer trying to figure out how to conduct tutoring and writing assistance in the middle of the pandemic, because the very nature is intense, close interaction,” said Dr. Bearman, Dean of the Mabee Library. “We just couldn’t really figure out how to do it in a way that we felt really safe.”
Through TutorMe, the library is offering help to students who are struggling with “Gateway” courses. These classes mostly consist of developmental courses and courses with high enrollment that are required for entry into various degree programs. The library has identified 29 different classes as being Gateway courses. The full list can be found here: https://washburn.edu/student-life/tutoring-writing-center/index.html
Dr. Bearman reported that one of the chief problems students brought to him concerning tutoring at Washburn was a need for tutors to work more flexible schedules.
“They wanted it on their timetable, and you know, our timetable is… Let’s say, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and what they kept telling us was… they wanted it at 2 o’clock in the morning. And TutorMe can provide that kind of service,” said Dr. Bearman.
“Our students…have so many different backgrounds,” said Sean Bird, Associate Dean of Mabee Library. “There are so many commuter students that are driving out of the county to attend classes at Washburn.”
Individual departments on campus, such as the history and mathematics departments, will still offer their own tutoring services.
The loss of the library’s in-person tutoring services lead to a loss of paid, student-held positions on campus. However, those who were affected were offered new jobs at the library if interested.
“We…did not hire any students this year,” said Dr. Bearman. “But for our continuing students, the students who tutored last year, we did offer them a position… We were very aware that we were taking away student jobs. So we said to them, ‘You know we’re not going to use peer tutoring, but if you still need a job, we’ll give you a job in the library front desk or helping with the printer.’”
TutorMe is tailored specifically for helping students and it focuses on being easy to access. Once students have logged into the site, all they have to do to get help from a live tutor is select the right option on the TutorMe webpage. They then select the subject they are having trouble with and will be connected to a tutor.
Students can upload documents to TutorMe and have them looked over by a tutor trained in that particular subject. Live chat can also be used by students to communicate with the instructors.
The process of choosing TutorMe over other, similar virtual tutoring services was not an easy one for the library’s staff.
“The first phase of the process was pretty straightforward,” said Bird. “We had a finite amount of resources and we’re a smaller university. We were able to recognize that there were quite a few of those platforms because, just out of the box, their costs were too substantial and also because there are some platforms out there designed for different universities, flagship or large state school universities. There were really four that we tried to look at, and one of those was TutorMe.”
To refer themselves to a tutor through TutorMe, students can send an email to [email protected] Faculty or staff members can also refer students. An email is sent from TutorMe within 24 hours that contains a code for access.
The library purchased enough licenses so that 500 students can access 16 hours of live tutoring for 12 months through TutorMe. These services come at no additional costs to students.
A variety of videos available at TutorMe.com are ready to help teach students how to access the service.
For more information, contact the library at [email protected] or visit www.tutorme.com
Edited by Jason M., Joelle Conway