In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, Woolyungah’s ITAP tutoring program has been a lifeline for students adapting to the challenges of the year. With many suddenly finding themselves having to learn entirely through unfamiliar online education, more ITAP tutoring has been delivered to students than ever before.
ITAP was overwhelmingly popular this year, with a 78% increase in the total number of hours of tutoring delivered, and 42% more tutors employed compared to 2019. However, due to the high volume of requests for tutoring from more than 250 students across the year, the allocated hours per student had to be reduced compared to previous years. Because of this, WIC’s ITAP Coordinator Jaime King says she received offers from some of the program’s regular tutors to volunteer some of their time for free.
“It’s a testament to the highly dedicated and generous tutors we have employed in the program,” Jaime said.
The increased demand also meant a new allocation system had to be implemented, ensuring fairness and equity among students sharing limited resources.
The new system prioritises first-year students since they may have only been on campus for a matter of weeks before classes moved online. Given their relative unfamiliarity with the processes of university, the guidance from an experienced tutor is most valuable for them. It also ensures that the resources go to the students who need the assistance most.
Kathleen Taylor, a Bachelor of Communication and Media student, has been extremely grateful for the support she’s received via ITAP throughout this “unforgettable” year.
“I’ve been blessed to work with three exceptional tutors this year, who’ve all been supportive, patient, and kind,” Kathleen said.
“When I first heard about the reduced tutoring hours available, I was slightly apprehensive, but I knew I just needed to be more prepared and organised before each tutoring session. And my tutors were able to assist with any concerns I had, even with reduced hours.”
UOW postgraduate student and ITAP tutor Teaniel Mifsud found that the ongoing changes in how tutoring could be delivered were a new challenge for her, but she was determined to overcome it.
“I had all these plans for my own life, work, and study, and then this happened. At first, it was just social distancing in the centre, sanitising our hands and wiping down surfaces. And then we couldn’t go to the centre. I thought ‘Okay, this is a new skill, and I’m going to learn.’”
With over 90% of subjects students received tutoring for being successfully passed in the autumn session, Jaime King recommends that everyone eligible should apply.
Overall, ITAP has been a major success in 2020, and students are encouraged to apply for tutoring as it becomes available in 2021. Application details can be found here.