Mark Williams, Coordinator at Carleton University’s Elsie MacGill Learning Centre (EMLC), wants students to feel comfortable in asking for help, despite the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created.

In its innovative fashion, the EMLC is working through the challenges that COVID-19 has generated to continue providing engineering students with dynamic and efficient services.

In wanting to ensure first year students can continue accessing academic support while learning remotely, the team at EMLC has partnered with TutorOcean, a comprehensive tutoring platform, to be the host for free tutoring appointments this upcoming academic year.

Carleton’s Elsie MacGill Learning Centre’s new online platform.

“This new platform allows us to cover a much wider range of service hours,” says Williams. “Instead of operating only weekday afternoons, we’ll have the ability to offer services from morning until evening and likely weekend hours as well.”

“We expect that our services will continue to be of great support to first year student success,” he continues. “They won’t have to commute to campus, they can request an appointment quickly online, and they can also submit questions and topics ahead of time, making their tutoring session that much easier and impactful.”

The EMLC’s scholars are all undergraduate engineering and design students who have excelled in their academics are personally passionate about helping others, as well as making the academic experience positive for new engineering students. These scholars will be working behind the screen to provide support for students and, with their own tutor profiles, students can learn more about them ahead of their appointment.

The platform will provide an innovative virtual classroom space for students and tutors to interact. Along with the option to message, video and audio chat, there is also a shared “whiteboard”, where students and scholars will type, draw and sketch their ideas visually.

“We feel that this platform will help create the kind of tutoring experiences students are used to, but virtually instead of sitting side by side,” says Williams.

Every student enrolled in a first-year engineering course was sent an invitation to access the software in early September when classes began.

As someone who recently graduated from engineering at Carleton, Williams understands how difficult undergraduate studies can be, even without the added stress of COVID-19.

“Our hope is that our service adaptation for the online world is going to make that transition easier,” he says. “Assisting students is the main motivator for our team and we want students to know that we are here to support for them this year more than ever before.”

Last year alone, over 500 first-year engineering students accessed the EMLC to help them thrive in their first-year courses. The centre has now officially resumed operations for the Fall 2020 semester.

Friday, September 18, 2020 in ,
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