Fulton’s Tutoring System Serves Thousands of Engineering Students with Just One Full-Time Staff Member

Students working together on a laptop computer

Fulton Schools of Engineering Tutor Management System connects hundreds of students with tutors while reducing the number of staff required to manage the system. Available free of charge, this service gives students access to personalized, one-on-one tutoring—online or on campus. As one of the largest engineering schools in the US, operating one of the only dedicated engineering tutoring centers, the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University is proud to offer this innovative approach to improve learning outcomes and increase success rates for thousands of ASU students.

The recent design of the Tutor Management System (TMS) allows one person to manage the coordination of over 75 tutors who serve students in thousands of sessions. Due to the unique and specialized needs of engineering students, this system was purpose-built at ASU by Engineering Technical Services (ETS), an IT organization within the Fulton Schools of Engineering. Using TMS, Sr. Coordinator Jessica Witzke can do the work of multiple people. According to Witzke, “The entire tutoring program is dependent on this system being up and running.” She commented, “It’s such an incredible system, I don’t know what we would do without it.”

Lead Developer, Jeff Carpenter (Assoc. Director of IT, ETS) and Daniel Cioara (Sr. Business Analyst, ETS) teamed up with Jessica to design and build the platform, inspired by a previous system. They had the unique opportunity to work remotely during the COVID-19 Pandemic which helped them design a product that meets the needs of both local and remote users. With features like coordinating tutor availability, recording tutor work times, and connecting web-based sessions, they ultimately delivered a system that shortens wait times and streamlines learning.

Because TMS is fully integrated into ASU systems, students login to TMS by swiping their student ID cards in-person, or online via their digital student accounts. Each session is carefully noted to help improve quality, predict peak demands, and assist in calculating payroll for tutors. Because many of the tutors are international students, TMS helps to ensure their hours worked comply with regulations.

Jessica no longer spends multiple days coordinating schedules, auditing reports, calculating payroll, or cross-checking tutor availability. What once took several people days of effort is now is now handled automatically and requires just a short bit of one person’s time. This frees Jessica to recruit and train highly-qualified tutors.

So how do ASU engineering students participate in tutoring? Students login to the system at one of several tutoring centers in the Tempe, AZ campus, or virtually, using Zoom. They then connect one-on-one with a qualified tutor to work through specific problems or assignments they are facing. While there is no limit to the amount of tutoring given, and tutoring is free, each session is scheduled in 45-minute blocks. According to Jessica, most sessions last between 20-30 minutes.

Are you interested in becoming a tutor? There are dozens of student worker positions available each semester for advanced ASU engineering students, and positions are often available year-round. If you have an interest in becoming a tutor, you can apply online.

Special recognition goes to the support staff who created the prior tutor management system which was in use until 2021. Thank you to Kaely Graham, who conceptualized the earlier design, and Charles Phillips who completed and enhanced the previous system.