The OCC tutoring resources you wish you knew about sooner

The Orange Coast College Student Success Center is a convenient resource for students seeking academic improvement. 

OCC offers general tutoring sessions for all major subjects, in addition to directed learning activities (DLAs), which are technique-specific exercises like learning how to "quote sandwich" or write an analysis. 

All OCC tutoring services are completely free. Even during the pandemic, these resources are available to all students online.

“The writing center is offering 30-minute appointments, and we are tutoring for almost every class,” said Kate McCarroll, OCC professor and Writing Center facilitator.

As a Writing Center facilitator, McCarroll creates training plans for tutors, manages all of the content materials, and puts together handouts and DLAs for her department. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, students and tutors have resorted to working over an online platform for the time being.  

“At first the transition was difficult,“ Student Success Center writing tutor Amanda Hayami said. “But Google Docs has been so handy because I can share screens and collaborate with students now. We’ve definitely made it work.”

Students who have formed a rapport with a certain tutor can actually request them regularly; that process has become easier with the transition to online instruction, according to McCarroll.

Along with the school’s provided tutors, OCC also partners with an independent company called Brainfuse. The service is free for a student’s first nine hours each month, with paid memberships available for purchase beyond that threshold.

At almost exactly the one-year mark of the pandemic, the mental strain of the shutdowns has started taking a toll on students.

“As an instructor, I do see students struggling a bit more than they did in person,” McCarroll said. “Despite that, the usage of the Success Center has actually decreased.”

This paradoxical trend indicates that although some students might struggle with learning over an online platform, they still do not utilize the valuable resources available to them for free.

“I think there are a lot of emotional elements that we are not necessarily seeing with students behind the scenes,” McCarroll said.

With student mental health in mind, many entrance-level English courses have dropped their requirement for certain time spent with the writing center, which has factored in this decrease in tutoring resources traffic.

Online instruction might be the only option available for students at the Success Center for the foreseeable future, as infrastructural and functional issues like one-on-one tutoring and student workshops are too high-risk for the current pandemic climate.  

“I have been told that the Success Center will be one of the last things to come back in-person,” McCarroll said. “It all depends on what the landscape looks like before we open in the fall, but our approach is better safe than sorry.” 

To register for the success center, students can add Tutoring 050 in their MyCoast Registration Portal cost-free. This will then give them access to the virtual front-desk available on Canvas.

As for now, the Student Success Center’s hours are as follows: Monday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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