Academic Achievement Center offers virtual tutoring services

Will Radenberg, then-junior in chemical engineering and Chemistry II tutor, goes over a chemistry assignment with Natalie Timmons, then-freshman in animal science, pre-vet, in the Engineering Complex. (Archive Photo by Parker Robb | Collegian Media Group)

Under the Office of Student Success, the Academic Achievement Center’s Tutoring Services offer students free, online, course-based tutoring during the recent transition to online classes at Kansas State.

Sessions can be held via phone, email or virtual meeting platform and are led by trained peer tutors who have excelled in their respective courses.

Managing director of Tutoring Services Luke Matulewicz said the Academic Achievement Center is committed to connecting students to tutoring resources.

“Students can sign up for a tutoring session through SSC-Navigate where they will be able to select a date and time that works best for them,” Matulewicz said. “Students will receive a Zoom link that is associated with their session that they join at the time of their appointment. Tutors have been trained to utilize Zoom features like screen sharing and the whiteboard to help with different formats.”

A full list of courses, along with many resources that help students with their academics can be found on the Academic Achievement Center’s website.

Matulewicz said they expect student usage of the center to climb as students continue to adjust to distance learning.

For many students, the transition to having all classes online is a rather large one, and part of this transition is experiencing large lectures on Zoom for the first time.

Zoom is a tool commonly used as a replacement for the typical classroom setting this semester. While some students have taken to this change in stride, others are struggling to navigate through this new learning environment, and the same can be said for the tutors.

Brian Brungardt, senior in economics and a tutor, said the biggest challenge he faced during this transition is letting the students he works with know that he is still tutoring.

“We’ve tried several different methods on trying to let people know,” Brungardt said. “Currently the best one we figured is [the professor] sends out a Zoom link in the class discussions on Canvas for [students] to click on. So far, we’ve had the most success with that.”

With this online transition affecting faculty and staff as well, other departments are continuing to offer online tutoring services to K-State students.

“The [English Department] Writing Center has asynchronous writing tutoring sessions available now through our online schedule that students can access,” Stacia Gray, interim director of the English Department Writing Center and English instructor, said. “Through our website, students can access a schedule that allows writers to upload an essay and receive written feedback from a tutor within 48 hours.”

The addition of synchronous video-conferencing sessions will take place next week starting April 6.

Amy Levin Plattner, graduate teaching assistant in the Department of English, said video-conferencing will be through Zoom and is not something they have offered before spring break.

“That will be more of an adjustment,” Plattner said. “But I think it will actually help because we get to see the person we’re working with and that gives us just a different opportunity to interact with the people that we tutor.”

Dustin Vann, graduate teaching assistant in English and Writing Center consultant, said most tutors in the Writing Center already had training experience in online tutoring prior to this transition, making the shift to strictly online appointments a smooth one.

“Looking at appointments from last week and those upcoming for this week, we’ve had over a dozen students take advantage of this service,” Vann said. “Hopefully, once we are able to implement tutoring via Zoom, we will see more students visiting the Writing Center in this new and innovative way.”