Since the shift to online for spring quarter classes, Pierce College has moved its tutoring and writing center services, available for free to any student, online as well.
“We wanted to make sure we remain accessible to anyone who needs us in the closest way possible to how [the Tutoring Center] was in person on campus,” said Sabrina Stevenson, the Tutoring Center manager.
Students can now access the tutoring resources on their Canvas dashboards in the Student Support tab. After clicking on the tab, the tutoring resource page will appear in the “Student Academic Support” tab.
The tab will bring students to the Tutoring page and then they’ll be required to join the course to use its resources. To join the course, all students need to do is click on the “Join This Course” tab on the right-hand side of the course’s homepage.
“Similar to the way students join a class, when they join the tutoring department’s course, the course title appears on their Canvas dashboard for easy access,” said Stevenson.
After joining the course, students have access to resources like chatting with a representative for any help or meeting with a tutor or mentor.
To meet with a tutor or mentor, students have four different options for making an appointment. They can call or email a representative, live chat with them on the web service, or fill out a reservation form. Those can all be accessed through canvas on the Departments Page.
For the live chatting method, all students have to do is look if a representative is online by checking for a green dot on their profile. If they are, then they can click on the live chatting feature, Cranium cafe on the website ConexED and begin their live chat.
“I tried to set it up to be as user friendly as possible,” said Stevenson.
Stevenson explained that tutors are more subject-based, meaning they help with things like homework, study questions, quiz or exam preparation and the overall content of a course. Meanwhile, mentors assist with navigation and life skill help like study skill development, accessing campus or community resources and time management.
The writing center department has developed similar online resources to the tutoring centers and can be accessed on Canvas as well.
The department’s Canvas page features a link to their booking system scheduling website, where students can make appointments. Other resources on the page include contact information and FAQs about spring quarter.
“You just make appointments the same way as usual on the scheduling website,” said Keith Kirkwood, the Writing Center program manager. ”Except now at the time of the appointment, you go back to the appointment window and click on a link to do it virtually with your writing tutor.”
Kirkwood mentioned that students can use video live chatting with their tutor or do audio-only instead. There’s also a new feature where students can upload their papers and a tutor will comment on it and upload it back for them.
“The main goal is to just have those options so students can have a choice and do what will benefit the most,” said Kirkwood.
Kirkwood said the only negative feedback he’s received so far about the online service has been from students being confused about how to navigate everything. To combat this issue, he’s created multiple videos that can be accessed on the department’s Canvas page on how to use the new system.
For the tutoring center, Stevenson said they’ve received positive feedback so far on the system with only a few issues.
“The only negative feedback has been not really on the department resources itself, but just how hard it is to do school online in general,” said Stevenson.
She said the most common positive feedback from students on the Tutoring Center’s online resource system has been on how there are many ways to access them.
Both Kirkwood and Stevenson reported there being a lack of usage with students using both departments since spring quarter has started.
“Usage has just started picking up now,” said Kirkwood. “I think it’s from students having difficulties navigating everything online at first and just now being more familiar with everything.”
Stevenson plans on making videos on how to use the Tutoring Center’s resources and sending out online and mail promotion for it to spread the word.
Both departments will be continuing their online services during summer quarter and any further quarters that will be virtual-only.
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