As the University shifts to online learning for the remainder of the semester, the UNC Writing and Learning Centers have followed suit. The centers are aiming to provide students with resources to make the transition to digital learning more manageable.
“We worked very hard last week to move all of our coaching and peer tutoring programs and our additional support programs to online platforms,” Kimberly Abels, Writing and Learning Center director, said.
Abels said through the Writing and Learning Center websites, students have access to handouts on various topics — ranging from skills like time management to specific courses like CHEM 101.
There are also 100 coaches and tutors providing online academic support through Zoom for academic coaching, peer tutoring and writing coaching, academic coach Marc Howlett said.
“One of our main goals was to try to offer as many of the same services as we usually do and continue that in an online format,” Howlett said. “Each year at least 25 percent of the undergraduate population uses at least one of the Writing and Learning Center services, so we know that they are helpful just in normal times and in this new world that we are all living in.”
Following Zoom meetings, students are encouraged to fill out response forms to offer feedback on services.
"We would love to hear from students about what they need — what kinds of tips and tools would be especially useful for them as they navigate these environments," Abels said.
The Writing and Learning Centers will continue to expand their use of digital learning over the next few weeks, Howlett said, introducing drop-in tutoring hours over Zoom on March 31.
“In general, students have been very appreciative of our services and have been a little bit surprised — and I think staff as well — that the Zoom format is not as different from the in-person format as they may have originally expected,” Howlett said.
First-year business administration major Jasmine Kaur said for her, academic services being offered online is more convenient than before.
“It’s nice because when it’s online, it allows you to have more flexibility in when you can make an appointment and go in for help, as opposed to when you have to physically go in and meet with someone,” Kaur said.
Abels said one of the biggest challenges in providing digital services to students has been letting students know they are available.
“There really is a lot out there,” Abels said. “We just want to make sure that students are aware of it.”
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