Fordham Implements New Tutoring Software System

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Knack Tutoring allows students to tutor their peers. (Courtesy of Nick DeSilva/The Fordham Ram)

Sofia Donohue, Digital Producer

Fordham has implemented a new tutoring software system: Knack Tutoring. Knack allows Fordham students to tutor their peers either online or in-person.

The university offers peer tutors in over 180 courses offered at both the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses.
Students can either apply to become a certified tutor or schedule sessions with Fordham tutors.

In order to become certified as a tutor, students must complete the Tutoring Basics Training Program on Knack.

After tutors select which subjects they are proficient in, they are required to submit a photo of their transcript for verification; students must have earned a B+ or better in order to tutor in the course.

While tutors are paid a fixed hourly rate after each session, Fordham students receive tutoring for free on Knack.

Knack’s accessibility gives all Fordham students the opportunity to become a certified tutor whether or not they’ve had tutoring experience.

A Knack tutor Gesilda Noka, FCRH ’24, said:

“I have experience in tutoring from high school, where I’ve volunteered to help out professors during their office hours by answering questions that students were having difficulty with or spending the period with a student who was especially struggling on a particular topic. My experience actually translates nicely to tutoring at Knack, where students typically come in with specific questions or concepts which confuse them that I can help clarify.”

In comparison to Fordham’s previous tutoring format, this tutoring format is more accessible.

“Pre-pandemic most of the tutoring was decentralized and coordinated by departments. One of our goals was to find a way to centralize subject tutoring and increase access and participation in tutoring. When we went remote due to the pandemic we started to use SSC Navigate as a way to centralize access to tutoring. In that model, students would schedule with tutors via SSC Navigate and tutors were available 4-6 hours a week,” said Christie-Belle Garcia, assistant dean for student support and success.

On Knack, students can directly communicate with tutors to schedule a session during a time that’s convenient for both parties.

Knack’s flexible hours better accommodate a typical Fordham student’s busy schedule.

Fordham decided to switch from the previous tutoring format to Knack because it helps provide access to tutoring to a large group of students. As Garcia said:

“Knack will help us expand and equalize tutoring access in support of student success. It’s a little like Uber for tutoring, but the university maintains complete control over who serves as a tutor … We believe that Knack will help us increase tutoring engagement and participation while offering flexible and meaningful employment opportunities for our students, giving them valuable experience while furthering their own academic and professional development.”

Similarly, Noka said:

“I do appreciate the platform’s clear organization style that allows students and tutors to easily find each other and arrange sessions that work best with the schedules of both parties, rather than having one party work on the schedule of the other.”

To schedule a tutoring session, students can submit a tutoring request for any of the supported courses and all tutors for that course are notified.

If a student would like to connect with a specific tutor, they can search their name and request them directly.

Communication between tutors and students is conventualized through Knack’s chat feature.

In addition to one-on-one tutoring sessions, Knack has an option to invite other students for a group tutoring session.

This feature optimizes collaboration among students.

While Knack is an improvement from Fordham’s past tutoring format, the platform still has room for improvement.

Noka said: “I think that it could be beneficial to have students tutor in courses they are currently taking and doing well in. It would not only add to the total number of students available in the course, but such tutors might be able to better explain the course material, as they are learning the same exact content.”

By providing students an opportunity to earn a steady income while simultaneously granting students easy access to tutoring, Knack is a platform certain to positively serve Fordham students.