With the unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19, all schools have been affected in one way or another. The college has stalled a lot of activities that had been planned for the spring semester, clubs have been postponed and classes have moved online. Students and teachers will have no choice but to adjust, but they do not have to do it alone. There are resources available from the college to help guide students through this new process. These resources include the Science, Math, Writing, Language and Academic Achievement Centers.
Suneetha Menon, Director of the Science Resource Center, describes the process of going online.
“Spring break was like a prep time for us,” Menon said. “We could go back and check each other’s Zoom rooms, try different options and see what the best experience for the students would be. Spring break really helped us make the transition.”
This transition was one that all the resource centers had to do. While online tutoring is not new, moving everything online can take time to figure out.
“We have been doing online tutoring for years,” Dr. Kathryn Byrne, Director of the Writing Center, said. “The difference now is everything is online, and it has been a little difficult navigating through Zoom.”
For the Writing Center, students are directed to a page that features a schedule that they can sign up with a tutor and make an appointment. Sessions last up to one hour. The Writing Center feel it important that writers make final decisions about the direction their paper is going. The tutor is there to give them a sense of how their audience might react and remind or demonstrate some grammar rules.
Each center has a different process to access the resources provided. Instructions on how to access each resource center can be found on the college’s Student Resources page.
Brett Cooper, Director for the Math Resource Center, describes the process for the MRC.
“When students login, they come into the main Zoom room,” Cooper said. “One of our Administrative Assistants will ask what class they need help with. Then the student will be sent to a one on one breakout room with a tutor where students get to work without any [distractions].”
The other resource centers are very similar to this. For the Science and Academic Achievement Center (AAC), students can see the schedule for tutors and a Zoom link.
“The whole process from the student logging in and talking to a tutor is around a minute and no more than a minute and 30 seconds.” Cooper said.
Although they have made the transition as easy as possible, each resource center still has some minor disadvantages.
“The major impact has been the biology courses because since the students are not going to use any models anymore, we will not be using any models during tutoring.” Menon said.
For the Math Resource Center, the lack of any physical materials and calculators has caused an inconvenience for students and teachers.
“All the resource centers had planned to move to the first floor of the library by the start of the 2020 Spring semester,” Menon said. “We are definitely planning to move on the scheduled date, it just depends on when we can get back on campus. As of now we are planning to move at the beginning of summer, but we do not know when we can be on campus so based on that it might get delayed a bit.”
While the new changes have brought some frustrations, the focus of the resource centers has not changed.
“My main focus is always the students and how best to serve them.” Bryne said.
This statement is especially true for Valerie Mann, Director of AAC and Language Resource Center.
“Our mission has stayed the same,” Mann said. “We are here to help you figure it out. We are still here in this transition to a new way of learning. It only enhanced our mission. It has made it a little clearer.”
Mann explains what makes the AAC different.
“We fill in the gaps in a lot of places for the other resource centers,” Mann said. “The AAC provides specialists that help students understand the foundations of each subject. The AAC resource center has resources to teach you how to study, manage your time, solve class issues, or take notes from your book. There is also nowhere else you can find tutors in all these other classes.”
The AAC offers a wide variety of tutors, ranging from Computer science, Philosophy, AutoCAD, History, Accounting, Economics and many more.
“We are a mixed bag of a variety of things, if you can’t find it in one of the other resource centers, I probably have it,” Mann said. “You are not alone in this; we are here to help.”
This message has been repeatedly expressed by all the other resource centers.
“Reach out and get help when you need it, there are a lot of resources the college is providing,” Menon said. “It is a transition process for everyone; nobody is alone in this. We are all together. So, take one day at a time, take it easy. Show some grace to yourself and enjoy the good parts of it.”
So, whether class is online or face to face, the college resources are just a couple clicks away.