Engineerica Academic Centers Blog Concerns about Hybrid Centers this Fall

Concerns about Hybrid Centers this Fall


As many schools prepare to welcome students back in the fall, some for the first time in over a year, one thing is clear: virtual options are here to stay, which means the support centers must find a way to accommodate both students who prefer to remain remote, and students who are ready to come back to campus.

This is a topic we’ve discussed in another Academic Success session, but it continues to be a popular one among our clients and others in the learning and support center communities. After all, there’s a lot to talk about here! It’s more new territory for many, and the ones that have already been on a hybrid model have stories of their own to share, but that doesn’t mean they don’t also have questions. Here are some of the questions raised during the meeting by our attendees, and the discussions that followed:

Challenges of Working With Multiple Modalities
Hybrid tutoring involves offering services both online and in-person, but this can mean different things to different centers, and it’s not always easy to figure out the right way to do it, before or after you’ve started. For example, some centers might have tutors who are available for both in-person and virtual tutoring at the same time, while others might designate a tutor’s shift to be either virtual or in-person, but not both. So it wasn’t a surprise that one of the first questions raised was how best to work within these multiple modalities. How do you provide services that are as thorough as possible without burning out or confusing tutors?

Split schedules were indeed a solution proposed by a couple of attendees, whether a tutor is always either in-person or virtual, or whether they may switch between the two modalities depending on the shift. In general, those who have tried it agreed that it’s difficult to have a tutor available for both in-person and online support during the same shift.

Another attendee also recommended taking advantage of the Waiting Line feature in the Virtual Sign-in links to catch the online students who are requesting help, in cases where they did not make an appointment. This allows staff to better manage virtual walk-ins in cases where students did not or could not make a virtual appointment.


Group Session Challenges
While most tutoring centers that utilize Accudemia tend to use a one-on-one tutoring method, group sessions are popular as well. One attendee had a question about how to successfully implement a hybrid group session, meaning that while the tutor is assisting some students in person, there might also be online students present.

When it comes to reporting on these sessions, if you’re using Accudemia, that’s a simple matter. Each service that students select when making appointments or signing in can be designated as either in-person or virtual, and that information is reportable. Virtual and in-person students can be signed in for the same tutor at the same time, depending on your configurations.

While tracking and reporting are easy, actually tutoring with this kind of setup is another matter. One attendee suggested providing physical and virtual breakout rooms, if possible, so that small groups of both virtual and in-person students could work together and have the tutor check in with each group periodically. We thought that was a great tip and especially love that it allows students in both modalities to work together so that the virtual students don’t feel that they’re getting less of a tutoring experience, or vice versa. While an ideal breakout room setup may not always be possible, if you’re able to at least move smaller groups into separate areas or at least other parts of the room, it can make a big difference for the tutoring experience.

In-Person Tutee, Online Tutor
A third dilemma raised was: what if the student comes to the physical center for tutoring, but the tutor chooses to remain virtual?

There are many reasons why a tutor might want to work remotely, and we support centers doing what they can to promote these options whenever possible. In cases like this, we suggest having headsets on hand so students can meet with a tutor virtually, and a workstation that’s partitioned off so they can meet with the tutor without physical distractions. We understand that in these situations, students have come to the center expecting to meet physically with a tutor, but the more you can provide them with a workspace that’s conducive to learning, the more understanding they’re likely to be.

We hope that this blog post has answered some of the questions you may have about assisting students using a hybrid model of support. If you have more questions, be sure to attend our next Academic Success discussion!

Join us next time!
Engineerica Systems is pleased to present our Tech Tip segment recap for the Accudemia session on 8/11/2021. Held Tuesdays at 1 pm EST (weekly during the academic year, and monthly during the summer), Accudemia clients can join a session to learn about a quick, useful topic from one of our Support Specialists. Each week, we’ll follow up Tech Tip Tuesday with a blog recapping that week’s topic. Check the page about our Monthly Accudemia Session to find out more about our next session and for more ideas about helping our students achieve success!

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