At our learning center at a small liberal arts college we used to do all drop-in hours for both tutoring and writing, then we transitioned to a hybrid model that included both drop-ins and appointments, and now our tutoring and writing centers are both appointment-only.  We were seeing a lot of inefficiencies with our drop-in model (many scheduled hours going unused, staff scheduled during specific times that may have limited access for some students, etc.).  Since we switched to an appointment-only model, we have been able to be much more cost efficient (staff are paid only for their time while actually working with students) while significantly increasing our usage numbers.  One key element of this transition was to require every tutor, consultant, and coach to enter at least five hours of availability each week in our scheduling system (TutorTrac), and we strongly encourage them to enter as many availabilities as they can.  The more times they enter, the more time options students have when searching for appointment times—even though our staff members are expected to work no more than 8-10 hours/week.  To answer your other questions:

  *   Our staff can change their availabilities from week to week, and even during the week.  We give them a lot of flexibility in that regard, as long as they are entering at least the required minimum five hours each week, their availabilities are during higher-demand times (M-F 9-5 for us), and they are not canceling or moving appointments (with relatively rare exceptions).
  *   With this model, it is admittedly difficult for us to project hours worked with any real precision.  We can, however, track our usage data over recent years enough so that we can come up with meaningful budget projections.
  *   We use TutorTrac for all of our scheduling, reporting, and learning center management needs, but there is an initial (a couple of thousand dollars) and an annual investment (close to $1000).  This has worked very well for us, but if that cost is out of reach for you, I’m sure some others will chime in with other (less costly) solutions.

I hope this helps!

Bruce Epps, M.A.
Director of Academic Success
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
614-236-6461 (Office)
614-236-6327 (Reception)
Blackmore Library 211

Capital University
1 College and Main
Columbus, Ohio  43209-2394

Academic Success web site: < >
Schedule tutoring, writing, and academic coaching appointments at < >


From: Suzanne Rousseau <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 12:38 PM
Subject: Transitioning from 100% drop-in to appointment-based tutoring

I'm the Coordinator of a Math and Science Tutoring Center that currently functions as a drop-in tutoring center for on-campus visits and has an appointment-based online tutoring component as well. I'm exploring other models to consider for next year, when I may be functioning on a smaller budget. Does anyone have experience transitioning from drop-in to appointments that would be willing to share insights, advice, and strategies? We would probably staff with 1-2 tutors to handle drop-in needs, and cover the rest with appointments, at least for a while.

We use Accudemia to track usage, and are not currently able to use it to make appointments, as our campus does not have SSO. We are in the process of switching from Blackboard to Canvas for fall, so it's possible that we may be able to make use of the appointment groups within the Canvas calendar for scheduling.

Here are some of the questions that have come to mind as I ponder how this might work.
- Would tutors be available for appointments at the exact same times each week, or would their availability change from week-to-week?
- How do you plan/manage your budget when you don't know how many appointments will be made and used throughout the academic year?
- Is there some other mechanism for appointment scheduling that wouldn't involve us spending more money that I haven't thought of? (We do use youcanbookme for our online tutoring appointments, and it works okay-ish on that small scale, but it's not a perfect solution.)

I will be very grateful for any assistance any of you may be able to provide.

Suzanne Rousseau
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Math and Science Tutoring Center Coordinator
Lewis-Clark State College

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