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Learning Assistance Center Takes Student Support Online


By Vince Bazarini

Collaborator to The Guardsman


The Learning Assistance Department has helped students reach their goals for many years now, and with campus closed is reworking its services for remote learning.

From their physical location in Ocean Campus’s Rosenberg library, the department provides tutoring, a computer lab, college success courses, and support services.

Students who take advantage of their services statistically “have a higher course completion and success rate,” according to their webpage. 

Now that campus is closed, the Learning Assistance tutoring services have migrated to the Department’s Canvas page. The page aims to keep tutoring information in a centralized location, making the services more accessible to students. 

Sessions with City College tutors are scheduled for every day of the week, organized on an easy-to-access Google Calendar. 

Through the Canvas page students can access online tutoring services such as NetTutor, STAR-CA, and Pisces, which cover for gaps in City College tutor availability. Moreover the Canvas page offers tutoring for subjects not covered by City College tutors. 

Despite having different names, these online platforms are designed by the same parent company which in which students will find similar. 

“Once a student is comfortable in this platform they’ll be comfortable working in NetTutor and they’ll be comfortable working in STAR-CA,” said Equity Tutorial Services Coordinator Dawn Mokuau. “It’s the same feel.”

Remote tutoring had been part of the department’s plan for a while, and when the pandemic hit, it was implemented immediately. “We really had to act quickly,” said department Chair Elaine Avrus. “What you see is an imperfect system that we’ve learned so many things from.”

Before the pandemic, online students couldn’t access any tutoring from Learning Assistance, and many in-person students requested online tutoring as well. Though the Learning Assistance Center will reopen eventually, online tutoring is “something that’s going to continue,” Avrus said.

Going into the Spring semester, remote tutoring looks to improve, as the department now has a staff of tutors in place to build off. “We’ll already have their schedules that first week of the semester,” Avrus said. 

The department is guided by a goal of allowing all City College students to succeed equally. Their services have changed over time to get closer to this goal, guided by data shared with the Office of Research & Planning. 

Another goal is to change students’ perceptions of academic support. “Part of being a successful student is getting help along the way,” Avrus said. “It’s a learned behavior that helps us succeed.” 

“Learning is about making connections, learning is about understanding and having dialogue and engaging and experience … tutoring and learning assistance is just part of that,” Avrus said. 

Visit the Learning Assistance Department’s webpage for more information on their services.

The Guardsman