November 24, 2015
Keep in mind, tutoring does not replace instructor interaction, but it is a great way to gain additional insight and help.
Receiving individual, personal help on homework and course material can be difficult — especially when learning online. While students can find great support at PathwayConnect gatherings and through friends and family, many often confront their academic struggles alone.
For this reason, BYU-Idaho offers free writing and math tutoring to all PathwayConnect students through the Academic Support Center.
When taking Introduction to Algebra and Finance, some material may be difficult to grasp or understand. Entire concepts may seem like an impossible roadblock, or a student may simply need help with one question on an assignment. Whatever the case, the Math Help for Online Students web page is a great place to get answers.
Math tutoring can be done two ways: an online chat for short, simple questions; or a video chat appointment for longer tutoring sessions, which allows for more personal tutoring as students and tutors interact more efficiently. These services are completely free and easy to use.
“I love catching up with PathwayConnect students later on and hearing about their lives,” said math tutor Grace Huskey. “My favorite part is definitely getting to know people from around the world. Each person has a new and unique story.”
The tutors are qualified to help and are willing to share their knowledge. Susan Wyman, a PathwayConnect student in Atlanta, Georgia, said tutor Steven Grover showed “super-human patience and was endlessly kind and helpful, as well as very skilled at math.” She said her experience “could not be more positive” and believes that online tutoring is one of the things that makes PathwayConnect and BYU-Idaho feel “like a Zion school.”
Tutors at the Online Writing Center help guide a student’s writing without taking over their work. Students are able to meet with an online tutor up to three times each week or sign up for an email session, where they send their paper to a tutor and the tutor will review it, make a screencast video explaining their changes, and email the paper back to the student. This can be a great option for students who don’t have a lot of time to meet one-on-one with a tutor.
Daniel Baird, Math Study Center director, offered some advice to students: “The habit of connecting with tutoring, even when it isn’t totally necessary, gives more confidence in the class and prepares the student to get help quickly. Tutoring isn’t a replacement for connecting with the instructor on a regular basis. The tutors are students who have an aptitude for math and helping. Don’t expect the same kind of help that an instructor could give, but do expect some friendly assistance.”
To request tutoring, students need only visit the Help for Online Students page and click the option they want — “Get an Online Tutor” or “Upload Your Document” (for an email session). Students can select a time that works with their schedule and upload their paper for the tutor to review. They will be contacted by the tutor about their appointment and provided a link to meet via Zoom (videoconferencing) for the tutoring session. Students should contact their tutor or the Online Writing Center if they have any questions.
Because the Online Writing Center uses screen sharing, no web cam is necessary. The tutor reviews the paper with the student using screen share to make comments, highlight areas for discussion, and answer questions. Afterward, the tutor sends the revised document back to the student for reference and revision.
Recalling her experience with the Online Writing Center, Leia Bordley, a PathwayConnect student in Newnan, Georgia, said, “I was having a particularly hard time with an English paper I had to write. The tutor that was assigned to help me go over my paper was so kind, respectful, and nonjudgmental.”
Math Center Hours (Mountain Time / UTC-6/7)
(Closed Tuesday’s from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.)
Writing Center Hours (Mountain Time / UTC-6/7)
(Closed Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11:20 p.m. – 12:20 p.m.)
Leia recalled one instance when she had to entirely rewrite a paper after she misunderstood a large part of the assignment. Her tutor guided her through the step-by-step process as Leia corrected her paper. After visiting with her tutors over several weeks, Leia’s confidence rose as she understood the expectations.
Having a writing tutor may be even more meaningful for students whose native language is not English. This is how Angel Rossini of Camarillo, California, felt about the help he received from the Writing Center. “My tutor was able to help me connect my ideas so I could express myself in a better way,” he said of his tutor, Abigail Hardy. “She even taught me what certain grammar rules apply to my writing and how to use them in my future assignments.” “I went from a failing grade to an excellent grade on that paper because of the amazing people who helped me,” Leia shared.
For students who hesitate to ask for help, Sheldon Lawrence, director of the Writing Center, advised students who meet with a tutor to “imagine the call as a chat with a helpful friend.” He said, “Tutors are not critics and are capable of helping with all levels of ability. Students can expect to receive feedback on whatever stage they are in, everything from brainstorming to the final edit. The students’ questions and needs guide the direction of the session.” Ricardo Costa Lima, a former PathwayConnect student from Portugal, shared how the Writing Center has been a blessing for him. “As a foreign student, it is normal that we face some problems dealing with a language that is not our native one; that was the case this semester when I had to prepare an essay. If it were not for the help that I received from a dedicated tutor, I would not have as much confidence. I will certainly continue to use it.”