Center for Academic Support Continues to Adapt
View Chase Merwin’s Pinterest board on tutoring and supplemental instruction amid COVID-19 here.
Western’s Center for Academic Support (CAS) has had to quickly adapt in order to help students in need of additional instruction amid COVID-19.
One challenge the CAS has faced in adapting to CDC guidelines is its reduction of the amount of people allowed inside their on-location space.
Susan Garrison, Director of the CAS, said while the CAS has had to move tutoring and supplemental instruction primarily online, it has been able to comfortably acclimate to the new changes.
“So far I think it’s run pretty smoothly,” Garrison said. “There’s a few glitches here or there but I think we’ve gotten them taken care of as soon as we could.”
Garrison said while in-person visits to the CAS are lower compared to years past, students are utilizing the online services CAS provides.
“We’re having a lot of students Zoom-ing in for appointments,” Garrison said. “Last I had heard we were doing between 12 and 16 appointments online daily.”
Among the services provided by the CAS is Supplemental Instruction (S.I.), where students who have been recommended by faculty are able to provide additional instruction to students in what Garrison calls “traditionally difficult classes”.
Some students are not as receptive to the new online format, and fears of COVID-19 S.I. Leader Tanner Merwin says are driving students away from getting extra help.
“I’ve had one person come in to my first session of the year,” Merwin said. “For the rest of the semester no one came in and I think that’s just largely due to COVID and what people value — people value their safety.”
S.I. Leader Tanner Fox echoed Merwin, saying the biggest challenge the CAS and S.I. by extension faces is getting people to attend S.I. sessions.
“Students kind of pick up attendance after the first exam — closer to midterms — but obviously with COVID going on and the fear of being in a room and around other people kind of steered students away,” Fox said.
Garrison said while difficult, online learning is one of the best ways for students to stay safe while getting help in their classes.
“A lot of people do struggle to learn online. It’s not the professor’s fault; it’s not the student’s fault — it’s just the way it is right now.”