My school (Gunn High School) used to use paper to manage their peer tutoring program. It was absolutely ridiculous! If you wanted a tutor, you used to have to physically walk across campus to the "Academic Center", fill out a paper application form, and then wait while the peer tutoring coordinator took that form, filed it into a huge binder of similar forms, and flipped through the "Tutor Binder" to find a tutor that fit within your criteria (i.e. a tutor who can tutor the subjects you want when you're available).
What it does
For an even briefer overview of our project, head over to this form. Or, continue reading for a slightly more in-depth description...
Now, Gunn (and all the other schools in PAUSD) use Tutorbook to manage it's peer tutoring program:
- Peer tutors signup, create their profiles, respond to lesson requests, and track their service hours (usually the required-for-graduation service hours) all on Tutorbook.
- Students can then search, message, and book those tutors--from anywhere, at anytime.
- Supervisors (the people who used to flip through those binders) manage profiles, match students with tutors (if needed; most of the matching can be done by the students themselves), send lesson reminders, and approve/reject service hour requests.
Note that each school gets it's own "web app" at a different
.tutorbook.app subdomain (much like Slack workspaces) and you're only able to login to that school's web app (to view it's tutors and such) if you have the school's email address (e.g. to get into Gunn's web app you must login with an
@pausd.org email address).
Since COVID-19 closed Gunn, we've expanded the functionality of Tutorbook to enable peer tutors to log service hours from online (via any platform that their students and staff prefer) tutoring appointments:
- Students log into Tutorbook’s web app like they normally would and clock-in to their peer tutoring sessions. When the clock-in, they’re given a prompt to upload proof of their tutoring session. Such proof could include: a. Screenshots of their chat history on Discord, Slack, WhatsApp, or any other messaging platform. b. Recordings of their online tutoring sessions on Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Whereby, or any other video conferencing app. c. PDFs of what they worked on (e.g. a math problem set).
- Or, students can log service hours after the lesson finished (without having to clock-in and clock-out) by uploading proof of their lesson (like above) and specifying how many service hours they're requesting.
How I built it
For very in-depth technical insights as to how Tutorbook works, check our documentation (automatically generated with JSDocs 3) or source available code. Or, continue reading for a brief, high-level overview...
For this hackathon, I teamed up and worked on polishing out some scalability issues (e.g. automatically creating school subdomains w/ AWS R53, CloudFront, and S3, adding an onboarding flow, etc).
What I learned
I personally learned a lot about AWS (as it relates to wildcard (e.g.
*.tutorbook.app) DNS records), scalability issues with Firebase, and how best to triage work with GitHub Issues, Projects, and Milestones.
What's next for Tutorbook
We're going to build a feature that enables schools to create landing pages for their virtual student support services (e.g. a page with a description of the school and a list of their peer tutors). Schools will then be able to send all of their students a link to this page (e.g.
gunn.tutorbook.app for Gunn High School's landing page) where they (the students) will be able to see all of their school's virtual support services (e.g. through links on the page description) and peer tutors in a single place.
Try It out