Center offers summer tutoring over Zoom

Tutors utilize whiteboard feature, breakout rooms on Zoom; students can view drop-in hours on ASCC website



Tutors at the Academic Success and Career Center are currently helping students with their summer classes over Zoom.

ALANA LACKNER, Evergreen managing editor

The Academic Success and Career Center is hosting free tutoring on Zoom this summer for all WSU students.

This is the first time summer tutoring is available to all campuses, including Global Campus, said ASCC Assistant Director Alicia Petersen. 

Summer tutoring is usually held in-person on the Pullman campus, but moving online created opportunities for other campuses, she said. 

“We have never had a venue to be able to offer online,” Petersen said. “So I guess with COVID, that’s a benefit, that tutoring is able to be offered to all campuses instead of just Pullman.”

Tutoring occurs from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. To sign up, a student needs to go to the ASCC’s peer tutoring page and click on “Find a tutor.” From there, students are able to log in with their network ID.

After logging in, students can view all the tutors and courses available as well as the corresponding drop-in hours for those tutors. A Zoom link will also be provided.

Lead tutor Jade Chamberlin said the switch to online tutoring has presented many challenges. She said it can be harder for tutors to connect with students in a purely online format.

“How many times have you just shown up somewhere and started asking people in-depth questions about your homework?” she said. “Usually you walk in and people have a conversation with you first, if they don’t, you’re like ‘Uhh, OK,’ you just kind of feel awkward about it.”

Chamberlin said it has become more common for students to just show up and ask questions, and sometimes the personal aspect can be lacking.

“I personally try really hard every time someone comes to make some kind of personal connection with them, so they feel comfortable coming back,” she said. “Because it’s a lot harder for students to feel like they belong in [an online] space.”

Another challenge was the need to adapt teaching methods for the new format, tutor Ricky Thai said.

“When everything moved online, it was a stark difficulty for me,” Thai said, “because everything was suddenly just talking instead of showing.”

Thai said it got better as he grew more familiar with Zoom’s interface and was able to use the whiteboard feature. However, he said he has less ability to demonstrate concepts online than in-person. 

Petersen said tutoring multiple students at once can be difficult to balance because sessions are conducted in Zoom rooms. In order to make sure tutoring can still be one-on-one and personal, tutors use breakout rooms so they can move from one room to another.

Petersen said tutors will start with one student and give them something to work on before switching to another breakout room. She said this can be tricky for tutors to balance, but they have been very willing to learn and adapt to the new procedures.

“I think when this all happened in spring and we had to transition quickly, there were some learning hiccups doing online tutoring,” she said. “A lot of these tutors did it in spring and have figured out what works, what doesn’t work and how to use Zoom to its full ability.”