Student tutors persist through campus closure, still holding sessions virtually

Cassady Lamb

Even though The Writing Center (TWC), The Learning Center (TLC) and the many other tutoring services and help centers on campus closed their physical doors, student tutors continued their sessions with students online.

WKU President Timothy Caboni sent out an email calling for an extended spring break on March 11, and the cancellation of all face-to-face classes on March 17, but some students still require access to educational assistance.

Alex Henson, a WKU senior, TLC tutor and PASS tutor said the virtual tutoring sessions, held over Zoom, have been going on since the initial date of the extended spring break.

Due to the transition from physical classes to virtual ones, some students are having trouble working the software and platforms their professors are requiring. Henson said he has held four or five sessions teaching students how to use Zoom, along with getting around ten emails a day from students.

“We are in an ever moving society, everything has become more tech-based,” Henson said. “I think this is making the best out of the situation we’re in, it’s helping people function using purely technology and not have to be in a strict classroom situation.”

Henson is taking all 400-level classes this semester, and is juggling both student tutoring as well as his own academics.

“We’ve been raised since preschool to learn in person, there’s a tiny bit of a curve I’m dealing with, some subjects are just really hard to express online,” Henson said.

DJ Cox, a WKU student, student worker at TWC and editor of TWC’s blog said this switch to virtual learning was the “perfect” time to become more active with the WordPress blog and began to help inspire students to stay active in their learning as well as let them know TWC is still open virtually.

Cox is familiar with online classes after taking a couple during his time at WKU and he said he knew what to expect to a certain extent. He said he noticed differences, however, between the way his in-person professors are conducting classes compared to his previous online professors.

“Some of my in-person professors are dealing with this better than some of my online professors do,” Cox said. “Normally with online classes they feel very distant.”

As a tutor, Cox has been seeing some students struggling to acclimate to their new workspace.

“As a tutor it’s been a challenge working from home and I can tell that in some of my students’ work I’ve been reading over that it has been for them too,” Cox said.

WKU students are not the only students in the area to continue to receive tutoring, though. 

The Green River Regional Education Cooperative (GRREC) has set up virtual tutoring sessions for K-12 students within 47 school districts.

WKU students belonging to WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences make up most of the tutoring staff on board, but GRREC staff covers the rest.

Tutoring sessions are currently being carried over Zoom unless other arrangements need to be made for  the student. 

“GRREC is extremely grateful and fortunate to partner with the faculty and students of WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences to support this project,” said Dale Goatley, STEM-Computer Science (CS) Project Coordinator for GRREC in an email Friday.

The students are being tutored on any area or concentration that their parent or guardian requests on the Google form.

The form is currently closed but will be opened back up again Monday to accept new tutoring session requests.

News reporter Cassady Lamb can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lambp0p.