With the fall semester now in full swing, NAIT is offering students a chance to get ahead on their studies by using Nimbus, a Canadian-made tutoring app. Nimbus is free to use and offers students the ability to find tutors, or become a tutor themselves. The app was created by McGill graduates William Liu and Ben Attal, who began work on the app shortly after graduating.
“When we were studying at McGill, we found that a lot of services that the university had invested in were very difficult to access. Different departments, each of them have their own ways of accessing the tutoring programs. Emailing back and forth could take a long time, and sometimes you might not even get the help you need,” said Liu.
“What we decided to focus on was to connect students that have done well in courses to students that may need help. It quickly grew, there was a need from students where we could have affordable tutoring they could access in an easy way.”.
Nimbus excels by partnering with post-secondary facilities directly. NAITSA has brought the app to campus, and with the help of Nimbus, they may introduce more aspects of education, such as mentoring, peer support and study groups.
“It’s gone from simply tutoring towards what the vision is, which is to have one centralized platform where students can access all these types of services that they can benefit from,” said Attal.
One benefit of tutoring on Nimbus is that tutors are able to charge what they feel their time is worth, or can work for free in the interest of giving back to the community.
“We’re creating jobs on campus, and that’s super exciting for us. With these programs, like mentorship and group study sessions, you’re taking any barrier out for the students who are looking for the support, because these are generally volunteer based programs. It’s just about making it more accessible to students,” said Attal.
NAIT students had been reporting to NAITSA that it had been hard for them to find tutoring services on campus, and NAITSA brought the issue to NAIT executives, which led to the partnership with Nimbus.
“When you have that collaboration between not only us, but also the administration and [NAITSA], where everybody’s on the same page about trying to make this work as best as possible for students. What’s working now is good, but I think that if we all work together on this, we can make something great,” said Attal.
Students who tutor not only gain communication, time management and instructional skills, but they also gain a more in depth knowledge of the topics they are tutoring.
“There’s a lot of research that shows that there’s benefits for the tutors. I think a true understanding of whatever you’re trying to understand is if you can teach it in a way that others can understand it as well,” said Liu.