MTSU offers students remote tutoring in 200 subject areas – and it’s free

Many Middle Tennessee State University students are taking advantage of remote help in 200 courses and subject areas during the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

For freshman premed chemistry major Curtis Dearing of Ooltewah, Tennessee, remote tutoring he has received from graduate student Lindsay Czap and several others “has been very helpful and prepared me for my tests,” he said.

The free service — normally offered at The Tutoring Spot in the James E. Walker Library and various on-campus locations by the MTSU Office of Student Success — is available to potentially hundreds of students via Zoom online teleconferencing and other methods.

Students can learn more about accessing remote tutoring at https://mtsu.edu/studentsuccess/tutoring.php.

The Office of Student Success is responsible for facilitating, coordinating and leading the implementation of MTSU’s Quest for Student Success, a campus wide initiative to keep students on track to earning a degree throughout their academic careers. Tutoring is one of a variety of initiatives to improve student success.

The Office of Student Success is helping them adapt because of the coronavirus outbreak, which ended on-campus classes and required a collective shift to a remote learning environment for students, faculty and staff.

“They (tutors) are sharing screens through Zoom, by phone or emailing,” said Dearing, 19, a Silverdale Baptist Academy graduate. “They are adjusting just as we are, trying to make the best of the situation.”

“They are giving me pointers and it actually feels more open — they are in their home and I am in my home — and I feel like I can talk and share my struggles,” added Dearing, who returned home to live during spring break because of the worldwide pandemic.

“Serving our students on campus, that is our most important goal,” said Cornelia Wills, director of Student Success, who leads the campus Learner Support Initiative for tutoring and supplemental instruction. “I’m very pleased with the leadership and adaptability of both our tutors and supplemental instructors and encouraged with the relatively smooth transition and ability to offer these valuable services to our students.”

The early reviews Wills has received from a sampling of 170 tutors and 30 supplemental instructors is a mix of good, fair and low as far as numbers of students seeking help. The tutors are emailing students, letting them know when the next session will take place.

Biology tutor and MTSU junior Steffany Jenkins hopes more students take advantage of the opportunity available to them.

“Remote tutoring is going very well,” said Jenkins, 21, a biology major from Franklin, Tennessee. “I am very appreciative for the organization and hard work the university has put into helping the students through these unprecedented times. … I expect more attendance (from students needing tutoring) as exams come closer.”

Junior College of Media and Entertainment supplemental instruction leader Helena Cook said the transition to remote tutoring has “worked well for students that joined since they are all outgoing and up for anything.”

Cook said she’s needing to go listen to the professor’s lectures again “to know what information he is passing on through online videos and which information he doesn’t, so I know what to ask and not to ask and what to focus on at my sessions. It’s some extra work, but totally manageable if I plan my time.”

MTSU’s Office of Student Success is led by Rick Sluder, vice provost for student success, and Vincent Windrow, associate vice provost. To learn more about the student success initiative – the mission, services and more – call 615-494-8650 or visit https://mtsu.edu/studentsuccess/.

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