The Rasmussen College tutor program won the Innovative Use of Technology Award at the National College Learning Center Association’s (NCLCA) annual conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in October. NCLCA is focused on academic support and learning center professionals.
The college received the award for its innovative technology resulting in better student learning, as well as increasing student engagement. The college’s program is unique in that it is able to certify tutors and use technology to consistently hire, manage and train its tutors across all campuses nationwide.
“We were recognized for not just how we tutor online but how we schedule and track online appointments, and how we facilitate and give webinars online,” said Jon Mladic, Rockford campus associate dean of learning services. “The biggest factor for us was how we use our technology to increase consistency with our tutor processes from campus to campus.”
Mladic said he was stunned and surprised, but extremely proud the college received the award.
“To make everything run smoothly, it really involves every one of the team members,” Mladic said. “It really was a team accomplishment.”
The college’s tutor program has been given a facelift since it originally began in April. The online tutor training course was written a couple years ago and it has since been updated to include video and interactive and engaging activities. Additionally, the program offers a quarterly series of tutor training webinars. The webinars engage other tutors live online, allow screen share capability, and offer opportunities to take part in multiple polls and chats.
“Our tutors are great students and always want to learn more, even if they don’t need it for their certification,” Mladic said.
Lastly, Brainfuse—the online tutoring platform—has added video and audio options, and tutors can share screens and verbally talk with students. Mladic has learned students are interested in not just content from tutors, but a peer-to-peer connection, which the platform allows.
Rasmussen College students are using tutors more and more each quarter, and its online tutoring offerings (which started last spring) went from 1.6 percent total usage last spring to its current standing of 25 percent total usage. Now, students are more comfortable connecting with tutors online, and due to the intense training the tutors receive, they are also more comfortable working with students online.
The use of students using tutors has resulted in better retention and student success. The tutors help students not only learn content but to foster independent thinking and become a better student. If you are interested in becoming a tutor or receiving tutoring, reach out to your student advisor.