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Study Buddy

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Free Online Tutoring and Support for Parents and Students

About the Program

The Study Buddy program is a collaboration between the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University, Ontario Tech University, external link, the Jean Augustine Centre, external link, and the Lifelong Leadership Institute, external link. We are supporting parents struggling to balance the responsibilities of work with their children’s rapid transition to online-learning due to the COVID-19 crisis. There is mounting evidence that shows that parents from marginalized groups and women entrepreneurs, who already face significant barriers to their success, are bearing the brunt of new stresses.

This free innovative program pairs parents and students with tutors to help them adjust to online learning through free tutoring powered by an online, interactive tutoring platform. 

The Study Buddy program is a part of the national COVID Youth Corps initiative led by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute and dozens of partners. The initiative seeks to harness the talent and knowledge of youth to solve real problems and respond to opportunities created by COVID-19 while providing them with the skills development and work experience that will enhance their employment opportunities.

Since its debut in May of 2020, the Ryerson Study Buddy program has provided over two thousand hours of high-quality, subject-specific tutoring support to hundreds of students.

Who is Eligible

This program is available to parents and grade K-12 students across Ontario through the Diversity Institute’s partners including: the Lifelong Leadership Institute (LLI), the Jean Augustine Centre (JAC), and many more! Aligning with the Diversity Institute’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, the Study Buddy program is specifically targeted to racialized and newcomer (under 5 years in Canada) communities.

What Study Buddy Offers

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Study Buddy provides free, one-on-one, online tutoring support to traditionally underserved communities and is working to remove barriers to high-quality, individualized education. Tutors participating in the program will have the opportunity to build on their training and gain valuable experience educating students and supporting parents during this challenging time. 

Students participating in Study Buddy will be provided with: 

  • Access to an online, interactive tutoring platform. 
  • Up to three hours per week of one-on-one homework and lesson support from tutors
  • Support for subjects including: math, science, social studies, chemistry, biology, physics, calculus, advanced functions, time-management, study skills, and many more!

Learn More

Should you have any further program questions, please contact program manager Jodi-Ann Francis-Walker at jfranciswalker@ryerson.ca.

If you have any platform program questions, please contact project manager Aaron Smajda (MSc, BEd, OCT, Google Certified Educator) at asmajda@ryerson.ca.

What is the Study Buddy program?

  • The Study Buddy program is a collaboration between the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University, Ontario Tech University, external link, Laurentian University, external link, the Jean Augustine Centre, external link, the Lifelong Leadership Institute, external link, and several others. We are supporting parents and students struggling to balance the responsibilities of work with the rapid transition to online-learning due to the COVID-19 crisis.

    Given the COVID-19 induced remote teaching/learning environment many students are struggling to effectively complete their course material. This has implications for their level of preparedness for subsequent studies. For students in Grade 12 who will be transitioning into post-secondary studies in the fall, they too need a pathway to ensure their academic preparedness. The provision of tutor support will help.

    This program is a part of the national COVID Youth Corps initiative led by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute and dozens of partners. The initiative seeks to harness the talent and knowledge of youth to solve real problems and respond to opportunities created by COVID, while providing them with the skills development and work experience that will enhance their employment opportunities.

Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns about the program?

  • Please contact program manager Jodi-Ann Francis (jfranciswalker@ryerson.ca) if you have any questions about the Study Buddy program. 

Who can I contact if I am having technical difficulties?

  • Study Buddy support staff member Laurene Williams (laurene.williams@ryerson.ca)
  • Or project manager Aaron Smajda (asmajda@ryerson.ca), MSc, BEd, OCT, Google Certified Educator.

What am I responsible for as a parent to a child participating in this program?

  • Study Buddy is available to you and your child at no cost. To enroll in the program, you will need to complete the application form. We encourage you to track how much time you and your child spend with our tutors, and provide feedback on Study Buddy that will help us evaluate its success and make changes where necessary. Parents will be the primary point of contact between tutors and students. We ask that you take an active role in your child(ren)’s sessions and be in the same room during sessions. Parents will be the primary point of contact between tutors and students.  

What is my role in supporting research initiatives relating to the Study Buddy program?

  • The Study Buddy program will be administered by Ryerson University in collaboration with Ontario Tech University, the Jean Augustine Centre, and the Lifelong Leadership Institute (LLI) which delivers the Leadership by Design (LBD) program.

    For the purpose of administering the tutor-support program, the Lifelong Leadership Institute will collect personal data (via the application form) regarding LBD student applicants and their parents to share with Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. By participating in the tutor-support program, you authorize the Ryerson University Diversity Institute (DI) to collect, use, store and confirm Personal Information, and you also authorize the DI and its representatives to share information provided in the application for the purposes of evaluating candidates, promoting the program, and administering it.

    As lead partner in this initiative, Ryerson University hopes to conduct research into the efficacy of the Study Buddy program. The objectives and structure of this research will be determined by Ryerson University if research is conducted. As well, all potential research undertaken by Ryerson University is governed by policies and practices that ensure the protection of research participants, researchers (faculty, students, and staff members), the university, and the public. Please note that research may not begin before all University approvals/certifications, institutional requirements, or governmental authorizations are obtained from the Research Ethics Board (REB), Ryerson University. 

Are the tutors trained?

  • The tutors will be from the Ontario Tech,  Laurentian, and Nipissing University teacher practicum training program, the Diversity Institute (Ryerson University), LLI and other partner organizations. Tutors will have certified expertise or previous experience in their tutoring subjects. Teacher candidate tutors are receiving formal training through the Faculty of Education at their respective Universities. By working with Study Buddy, teacher candidates will receive new experience as educators and teaching hours that work towards their academic credit. All teaching candidate tutors have up to date Police Vulnerable Sector Background Checks (PVSBC).

What are the technology requirements?

  • Access to a web browser on a computer and a reliable internet connection is needed to use the online platform. Chrome or Firefox will work best. To engage in audio or video collaboration, a webcam and mic are required. 

Will we have the same tutor every time?

  • That is up to you. We encourage maintaining the same tutor to maximize engagement and growth. The tutor you work with is chosen by you at the time of booking.

How can parents monitor an online session?

  • Parents will have access to the session through their child's online account. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in supporting their child’s learning by being within earshot of each session.

How many people can join a lesson for online tutoring?

  • The only people who have access to an online session are the tutor and the parent/student. 

What school subjects can students get help with?

  • Subjects Study Buddy supports include chemistry, biology, physics, calculus, advanced functions, all K-8 subject areas and many more!

How many hours of tutoring can students receive through Study Buddy?

  • In order to ensure that we can provide support to as many families as possible, we ask that you restrict the number of hours you book to no more than 3 hours per child per week.

Where does tutoring take place?

  • Tutoring sessions take place online through an interactive lesson space. Parents and students are matched with a tutor based on availability and study needs. Through the online platform, parents and students will be able to schedule tutoring sessions and meet with their tutors over video. 

When can my child meet with the tutor?

  • Students and parents will be able to book sessions based on tutor-set availability. The tutor will be available at similar times as parents and students and will have expertise in the selected areas of study.

    While your tutor will meet your child (online) one-on-one, the tutor will also be supporting other students, and this can influence when the tutor can meet with your child. The tutor will try to meet at the parents and students convenience. However, it may be that the actual meeting times will result from a conversation between parents and students, and their tutor. In this conversation, parents and students should come to an agreement regarding the process for cancelling or rescheduling a meeting.  For parents and students to get the most out of the tutor-support program, they must commit to preparing for and attending all scheduled meetings.

What is the Study Buddy program?

Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns about the program?

  • Please contact program manager Jodi-Ann Francis (jfranciswalker@ryerson.ca) if you have any questions about the Study Buddy program. 

Who can I contact if I am having technical difficulties?

Is this a paid position?

  • This is not a paid position. Tutoring hours will be applied toward your practicum requirement. Please keep track of the time you spend tutoring students.

How many hours am I expected to complete?

  • We anticipate that tutors will have the opportunity to provide 10+ teaching hours per week. These hours will be distributed amongst several students.
  • The total number of hours you are required to complete is set by your university.

How will I schedule sessions with students and/or parents?

  • Tutors will enter available times to provide support. Students and parents will book tutors based on availability and subject requirements. 

How many students can I expect to tutor?

  • Tutors will likely tutor two to four students on a weekly basis in private, one-on-one sessions. 

What are my responsibilities as a Study Buddy tutor?

  • As a tutor, you will be required to meet with two to four students for up to three hours per week for each student. We will match you with parents and students and together you will schedule tutoring sessions and meet with parents and students online. The online platform will track the number of hours you spend tutoring, however, we ask that you also keep a record of your completed session hours.

What is my role in supporting research initiatives relating to the Study Buddy program?

  • The Study Buddy program will be administered by Ryerson University in collaboration with Ontario Tech University, the Jean Augustine Centre, and the Lifelong Leadership Institute (LLI) which delivers the Leadership by Design (LBD) program.

    For the purpose of administering the tutor-support program, the Lifelong Leadership Institute will collect personal data (via the application form) regarding LBD student applicants and their parents to share with Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. By participating in the tutor-support program, you authorize the Ryerson University Diversity Institute (DI) to collect, use, store and confirm Personal Information, and you also authorize the DI and its representatives to share information provided in the application for the purposes of evaluating candidates, promoting the program, and administering it.

    As lead partner in this initiative, Ryerson University hopes to conduct research into the efficacy of the Study Buddy program. The objectives and structure of this research will be determined by Ryerson University if research is conducted. As well, all potential research undertaken by Ryerson University is governed by policies and practices that ensure the protection of research participants, researchers (faculty, students, and staff members), the university, and the public. Please note that research may not begin before all University approvals/certifications, institutional requirements, or governmental authorizations are obtained from the Research Ethics Board (REB), Ryerson University. 

What are the technology requirements?

  • Access to a web browser on a computer and a reliable internet connection is needed to use the online platform. Chrome or Firefox will work best. To engage in audio or video collaboration, a webcam and mic are required. 

What subject areas am I eligible to tutor?

  • Teacher candidates are recommended to tutor within your prospective teachable subject areas, but are eligible to tutor subject areas that you show expertise or experience with. We may not always be in a position to facilitate perfect matches based on a specific subject. As well, tutor-support may sometimes involve broader support targeting learning-skills development (e.g. study skills, time management, etc.).

Are there set times and dates I am required to tutor?

  • No, the times and dates for tutoring will be determined by your personal availability. Students are currently completing their curriculum online, which involves some scheduled online activity with their teachers. Since tutors will work with multiple students, scheduling meeting times may take some organization. While you are matched with students based on their availability for initial sessions, additional meeting times will be determined by you and your students.  

Where does tutoring take place?

  • Tutoring sessions take place online through an online, interactive tutoring platform. Tutors will be matched with students based on availability and study needs. The online platform facilitates one-on-one video tutoring between you and your students.

What resources might I access to help with lesson planning and tutoring?

What is my relationship to the parents of my students?

  • Parents are full partners in this tutor-support program and tutors are encouraged to have occasional liaison meetings with tutors to discuss student learning progress. Consider the parent to be a client in the following context: The parent has arranged for you to tutor their child.

Who are the students I will be tutoring?

  • Students are enrolled in the Leadership by Design (LBD) program which is the signature leadership-development program of the Lifelong Leadership Institute (LLI), in the Jean Augustine Centre (JAC), and from several other affiliate programs throughout Ontario.

    Students from LLI are of African-Canadian heritage and come from GTA high schools. They enter the LBD program from Grade 10 and progress into Grade 12 and thereafter to post-secondary studies. Admission into the LBD program is based on a combination of Grade 9 academic performance and an interview.

    Students from JAC are girls from Grade 9 to 12 that participate in JAC programming including mentorship, empowerment programs & civic engagement with opportunities that place special emphasis on personal development & experiential learning.

Partners

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The Diversity Institute conducts and coordinates multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder research to address the needs of diverse Canadians, the changing nature of skills and competencies, and the policies, processes and tools that advance economic inclusion and success. Our action-oriented, evidence-based approach is advancing knowledge of the complex barriers faced by underrepresented groups, leading practices to effect change, and producing concrete results

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The Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment takes a holistic approach to empowerment by providing programs that support the mental, physical & social wellbeing of girls & young women.

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The Lifelong Leadership Institute (LLI) is an educational organization that provides innovative leadership development to Canadian youth of Jamaican, African-Caribbean and Black heritage, so that they may fulfill their personal and professional ambitions, provide inspiring leadership to their communities and country, and make this world a better place for all.

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Ontario Tech University's Faculty of Education provides students with the academic background and expertise to be leaders in 21st-century teaching and learning environments. They prepare students to excel and thrive in their roles as educators, consultants in both physical and virtual settings. Teacher candidates take part in three field experience placements, providing them with a minimum of 80 days of first-hand experience both observing and teaching. Additionally, under the supervision of an experienced practicing teacher, they gradually acquire responsibility for teaching classes.

Research

As lead partner in this initiative, Ryerson University hopes to conduct research into the efficacy of the Study Buddy program. The objectives and structure of this research will be determined by Ryerson University if research is conducted. As well, all potential research undertaken by Ryerson University is governed by policies and practices that ensure the protection of research participants, researchers (faculty, students, and staff members), the university, and the public. Please note that research may not begin before all University approvals/certifications, institutional requirements, or governmental authorizations are obtained from the Research Ethics Board (REB), Ryerson University.

Diversity Statement

The Diversity Institute is committed to ensuring the Study Buddy program is an equitable platform that is accessible and inclusive to a diverse range of students, parents, and tutors from all backgrounds, gender identities, ethnicities, abilities, sexual orientations, religions, affiliations or beliefs. All teaching candidate tutors are required to complete a workshop on anti-black racism, and are equipped to consider diversity needs when planning lessons and sessions.