Highline College

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Tutors also learning during corona shutdown

Della Verdi Staff Reporter May 27

Tutoring during quarantine has been different for tutors than previous quarters at Highline.

Highline’s Spring Quarter 2020 has been completely virtual. Tutors operate within a fixed schedule on Zoom in order to accommodate students during quarantine.

Nouha Bencherfi is a tutor at the Highline Writing Center and has been at Highline since fall 2018.

Some tutors such as Bencherfi have struggled with the transition from in-person to online tutoring.

“I don’t speak for all tutors, but I do feel that it has been kind of difficult in transitioning from in-person to completely online,” Bencherfi said. “Many of the important interactions we have with students, such as nodding, showing them our suggestions in paper, or showing them how to clock in are a bit harder to do online than in person.”

Bencherfi has also noticed more challenges that follow the online and technical side of using Zoom and making appointments.

“Many people are not sure on how to utilize the service and end up not making a session,” Bencherfi said. “Promoting is a bit difficult as we can’t go to classes and promote the Writing Center.”

Despite some of the challenges Bencherfi has been faced with during quarantine, there are benefits to tutoring online.

“However, we are making progress in doing Zoom drop-ins, as well as an open Zoom in order to help those who have difficulty in making a session,” Bencherfi said. “Students are being comfortable with taking a session at home and being at their own ease while doing so.”

Bencherfi said that the Zoom meetings took students some getting used to, but throughout the quarter they began getting the hang of it.

“They did have difficulty at first in knowing how to clock in and how to attend the conference, however with help from our shift supervisors, they were able to learn and be comfortable in making sessions,” Bencherfi said. “From my experience, those who have had sessions with me seemed fine in making the appointments and showing up for writing help.”

Highline’s tutoring center has also added some more accommodations for students in light of the quarantine.

“In regard to the Writing Center, we have added a Zoom meeting for students to attend if they are having issues with making an appointment or missing one,” Bencherfi said. “We have also made other Zoom links for different workshops we offer, such as Citations, Tricky Punctuation, and more for our students to utilize.”

Bencherfi said that the tutoring center has also updated their website and has now added 10 new handouts to assist in the writing process, while promoting on their Instagram page.

“Many of them do admit that they would prefer in-person tutoring but they also seem open to getting tutor help online, even if it is unfamiliar to them at first,” Bencherfi said. “We are learning how to overcome these barriers in order to give the best possible service to Highline’s students.”

Janine Granstrand is a Highline Writing Center tutor who has been at Highline since 2018.

“I’d like to say that it is very much harder to tutor students with the transition to online tutoring,” Granstrand said. “Some of the challenges that we face are rather technological difficulties; such as being able to show us their assignment information and essays when they were so used to showing us in person.”

Granstrand mentions how students aren’t as accommodated with reliable technology that they need in order to learn.

“Not every student has the equipment that allows them to receive help online as well; or are not very informed of how to really use our website post-transition,” Granstrand said. “I do notice that sometimes it may be harder for them to reach out to their teachers.”

Some students are struggling more than others, while it really depends on the student and their learning preferences.

“There are moments where students are actively seeking academic support from our tutoring services to combat those challenges,” Granstrand said. “A benefit is that students who found it hard to come in-person to make appointments at our writing center, are able to do so online In the comfort of their own homes.”