7 Simple Ways to Connect with Those You Tutor

Tis the season of giving & connection. Whether you’re a teacher, administrator, staff member, or advisor, even the smallest gesture can go a long way.

Check out these 7 simple ways to create human connection while saving time, money, and personalization.


1. Send an e-card

Electronic cards are a severely undervalued way to send holiday greetings at scale and with a personal feel. With endless options, it takes typically 15 minutes to build a card, upload an email list, and send away. It beats sending a plain text email 9 times out of 10.

Most companies even take personalization to the next level by allowing for personalization tags and changing up some of the language for individual receivers of the card.


2.  Make an Introduction

You may happen to be the point of connection for most students or staff members you interact with.  Making an introduction between students, students and staff, or staff members is a great way to show individuals you care about their personal interests.

All it takes is a quick email or a couple of minutes after class to formulate a potentially powerful bond.

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3. Do Your Work in the Campus Center

Doesn’t sound like you? Maybe that’s a sign you should. Being in public spaces where students or other staff members (who you don’t see) hang out is a great way to ignite connection.

Instead of working in your office or at home, make an effort to head to the library or campus center for an hour.
4. Invite Students to Common Space for Office Hours

Having a hard time getting students to come to office hours? Make it a party!

Whether your students are online or in-person, finals, assessments, or problem sets are always right around the corner. By hosting a group study session, you’ll be able to connect with a lot individuals at a time. If time is an issue, invite student experts to lead the study session for you (giving them a treat for coming) and just act as facilitator while doing other work.

No physical space? That’s ok too! With so many online meeting tools, having face-to-face meetings has never been more convenient.


5. Make Use of Campus “Grams”

Tons of organizations on campus sell “grams” over the holidays to raise money for their group or a group of their choice. By buying grams in bulk for your students or coworkers, you’re not only showing them you care but most likely benefiting a cause or community on campus. Win-Win!


6. Attend a campus event

As the end of year nears, holiday events, dances, sports, and community parties start to ramp up. Make it a point to attend one or more of these and you may just spark conversation with a student you don’t normally.

It’s a great way to get involved and gain a new appreciation for your students or other staff members.


7. Raffle off lunch or coffee


Have your students write their names down on a piece of paper, tear it off, and put in a hat. Draw names and take one of our students out to coffee or lunch on you. It can be content related or not, but might be a fun way to get to know an individual in your class (of potentially 300 or more!).

Taking a Tutoring Relationship Beyond Content: 3 Things Your Students Need to Succeed

By Gunnar Counselman, CEO of Fidelis Education, Featured in the November issue of eCampus News

Relationship Strategy Ad Series (66)

“Analysts in higher education are overcomplicating retention and graduation problems. I’m going to keep it super simple, so simple in fact that there’s an acronym mnemonic device to help remember it — The 3 Ps of Success™ .

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Nanodegrees: Unlocking the Value of Tutors

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Image by Udacity

By Gunnar Counselman

Earlier this year Sebastian Thrun made the most important announcement since Udacity, Coursera, and Harvard/MIT’s edX launched the MOOC wave in 2012.

With the creation of Nanodegrees, he’s essentially making Udacity into an unaccredited, targeted, useful, affordable university with a great initial market, namely the technology industry. That’s not the cool part though because General Assembly, Code Academy, Code School, and others did that a long time ago.

The reason that this is so important is that it brings headlines, focus, and a cool new brand to bear in addressing the most fundamental problem in education, that is, the inadequacy of the degree.

It takes about 32,000 hours of studying to earn a degree, including the time spent in primary and secondary school. For that time and effort, you get a measly 4 data points for your resume. Your school, degree name, year, and maybe GPA. Nanodegrees offer the possibility of a much richer and more interesting set of credentials. Or as Reid Hoffman wrote, “We need to take what now exists as a dumb, static document and turn it into a richer, updateable, more connected record of a person’s skills, expertise, and experience.”

When it comes to Nanodegrees, there’s absolutely nothing new except for Sebastian and Udacity’s incredible gift for branding and moving headlines. “Nanodegree” is a new and much cooler brand for “digital badges,” which were an attempt to be a cooler brand than “micro-credentials”, which were much better than “certificates.”

content creation is a huge blocker for programs because of the time and effort involved. learn how we can help.

But the core concept is the same: to confer a precise credential to people that vouches for a focused set of knowledge, skills, or capabilities. It’s no different than how the boy scouts issue merit badges, how the Navy does qualifications to pilot nuclear submarines, or even how the Citadel gives chain links to Maesters in Game of Thrones.


To make the point that this is an important brand change, imagine the headline:

“Creator of Google’s Self-Driving car announces certificates for entry level web development and data analysis.”

Not that interesting. But Nanodegrees are new and shiny. They make me think of nanotechnology, nano-bots, and Dennis Quaid in a tiny intravenous space ship in the 1980s classic Innerspace. So, they must be great.

The purpose of brands is to get and focus attention.  Now that he’s got our attention, here are a couple of things that Sebastian should do with it.

1) Search: Companies need to be able to search for specific skills and talents tied to each credential.

2) Convenience: The creation and testing process needs to be easy.

3) Levels: As I’ve written before, we need to deep-six the notion of binary certification. Everyone’s expertise lies along a spectrum and so to be useful all badges have to be scaled to be trustworthy.

4) Brand: Finally, prestigious universities and well-known companies need to get in the game.

Check out this blog post to read more of my thoughts on digital credentials.