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CRC Discusses Plan to Create ANU Peer-Tutoring Platform with Vygo

Monday, 30 July: A potential collaboration between ANUSA and peer-tutoring platform Vygo was discussed in the fifth College Representative Council (CRC) of 2018.

Vygo is a tech startup based in Brisbane, which develops university level peer-tutoring platforms to connect peer tutors with students. It is currently offered at the Queensland University of Technology and Monash University.

The tutors will generally be later year students who meet a minimum GPA requirement, along with other selection criteria which ANUSA can decide.

Prospective tutors will undergo a training webinar before they are approved and listed. Afterwards, they will set their own rates but teach only courses that they have completed.

There are three possible options. First, Vygo might fully administer, market, and monitor the app under their branding. Second, ANUSA can purchase the app and have full control of its operation. Lastly, there could be a mix of both with ANUSA branding the app and Vygo overseeing its daily operation.

In regard to safety issues, Vygo assured that the tutoring sessions will only be made on campus or in public places, and the screening process will also ensure the quality of peer tutors.

ANUSA Treasurer Mariah Chang also reported that Vygo suggested a possible partnership in the future with QPay which has “access to [students’] grades”. She acknowledged that there could be confidentiality issues.

There was doubt about whether the proposal was worth its cost. ANUSA Education Officer Harry Needham believed that an amount this large can be more effectively used to benefit students on existing infrastructures than a new platform.

Campbell Clapp, College of Law Representative, questioned how branding the service under the ANUSA banner would appear to students. He objected the idea of ANUSA facilitating a service that requires further financial commitments from students.

Evie Sharman, College of the Asia-Pacific Representative, was concerned that the Vygo product will only benefit students who can afford the rates, and remain inaccessible to students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Victor Munagala, College of Business & Economics Representative, referred to an app currently under development by ANU students. It would serve a similar role to connect students across campus without incurring costs as much as the Vygo proposal.

ANUSA President Eleanor Kay said that any possible trial of the product would have to wait until next year, as ANUSA is currently not in a financial position to allocate funding to non-standard items.

The meeting concluded with the initiative of a sub-committee consisting of College Representatives to conduct surveys and receive feedback from students about their expectations of a peer-tutoring system. The details are to be confirmed at a later date.

*Editor’s note (08/08/18): An earlier version of this article contained information the source has expressed that they now do not want shared. This article has since been amended to accommodate for this.