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Chrisa:

In the spring of 1996, I was right where you are now.  I was given a
tiny room that stored the new computers for several offices, one of
which was given to me "temporarily."  I was told to create a tutoring
program.  We were a satallite campus of a large community college, but
we were in the process of becoming a college of our own.  I was given
free reign.  I started with about ten tutors.  I don't want to toot my
own horn, but I will anyway, but today the program has 20 Peer Tutors, 5
part time Master (Professional) Tutors, 4 19-hour per week Learning
Assistants, the clerical help, and me.  We serve over 2,000 students per
year and log over 7,000 hours each semester.  Not including the Learning
Assistants, the clerk, and me, our budget is about $75,000.

Regarding your attendance tracking situation, I will tell you from my
extended experience that trying to have a program written for you is
expensive and fraught with many time consuming problems.  I wrote a
grant that set aside money to write a program.  We thought it would be
written in-house (which is what our IT department originally told us).
When they finally got started writing the program, six months late, it
was an outside contractor.  That was in 1999.  Since that time the
program has become a web based program that has its good points and bad
points -- more bad than good.  You see, our main server with all the
student data we need is located on the other college in our district.
We are still not happy with what we have!  (Let me see . . . . Start in
1999, now 2003 . . . .that looks like four years to me, but I am "not a
math person."  I am about ready to chuck the whole thing and make our IT
department buy us AccuTrack, which is the only one I have seen, or
TutorTrack, which I hear is also very good.

Designate one computer as your attendance computer and place it where
the students enter.  We use a bar code reader with the students' ID
cards.  Works great, when the server isn't down!!!  I must say that at
this point, 95% of the problems we have are caused by internal IT
problems.  I am told that if the program was hooked to a local server,
it would not be down so often.

Chrisa, if you would like to contact me off of the list, please feel
free to do so.  I will be very happy to offer any of my experiences to
help you.  I cannot tell you how much this Tutoring Center means to me
because I "gave birth to it."  I know that you will feel the same way
too!  It is a wonderful, giving service we offer to students who are all
too often surprised by our existence.

Have a lot of fun with it!

Kathy Gutierrez
Santiago Canyon College
Tutoring Center
714-628-4795
714-516-9172 (fax)


-----Original Message-----
From: Chrisa Hotchkiss [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 4:08 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Learning center tracking software


Hello.
I was just hired as the Coordinator of the new Teaching and Learning
Center at Dominican University. Our learning center is still in its
formative stages, and I'm charged with the task of getting systems up
and running (with the help of a very supportive staff,
thankfully!)--hopefully by the end of January.

One of my concerns is finding an appropriate software program to help me
track important records and statistics. I've starting researching
AccuTrack, TutorTrac, and other programs designed specifically for
learning centers. I'm interested in finding out what you use at your
center and what you would recommend to me. Our center will have only
eight or nine computers (one of which I'm hoping to delegate as "the
tracker," to be used only for that purpose), and it will be situated in
one large classroom.

Unfortunately, we have no budget for software, so I may need to write a
grant and will have to start small. I don't think we'll need the
software on every computer, just "the tracker" computer, and the easier
the program is to use, the better for me. I don't want to spend a ton of
time figuring out how to use it. (I noticed that the basic version of
AccuTrack is only $400-ish, but it looks a bit complicated to use.)

If you have suggestions either about good (inexpensive) tracking
software and/or possible avenues for funding, I'd really appreciate it.

Cheers!

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