Students help students via tutoring services

Students help students via tutoring services

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Camille Studebaker

With final exams approaching in a little over a month, various resources on campus and online are extending their tutoring services to students who want classroom assistance.

An online tutoring platform used in over 65 countries, HelpHub connects students and tutors by instant messaging, videos and phone calls. The sessions can vary from briefly answering a question to longer or repeated sessions. Students can search for their school and receive tutoring from someone at the same school that already took the class.

HelpHub Founder and CEO Miguel Kudry said the website sees a fluctuation in tutoring amounts throughout the semester, but there is a noticeably higher demand during exam times.

“A lot of students are actually coming in before the semester starts so they’ll want to chat with somebody that took the class they’re about to take, and they’ll chat about the professor and tips on how to get prepared for it and for midterms and finals,” Kudry said. “So, there are definitely ups and downs, but I’d say midterms and finals are the two spikes.”

Kudry said there are about 20 tutors on the site listed as either University of Alabama students or alumni. Covering nearly any academic subject requested, HelpHub has over 12,000 tutors from over 1,500 schools.

“We have a wide range of types of tutors,” he said. “A lot of our tutors are students themselves who decided they got really good grades in certain subjects, and they want to help other people.”

Although the tutors on HelpHub are mostly students, anyone can become a tutor by submitting his or her credentials to the HelpHub team for review. Once verified, the students and community rate tutors on the course or subject they assist in. The payment for each session can be negotiated by the student and tutor.

“If anything, I’d like to increase awareness about the fact that yes, you can get help, but you can also make some money on the side with the stuff that you’re good at,” Kudry said.

In addition to the plethora of online tutoring available through telecommunications, there are many ways for students to receive the services they need on campus. Colin Dunne, a junior majoring in chemistry and a UA Center for Academic Success tutor, said he does not think students are aware of how many tutoring resources are available to them.

“We get a good number of students, but I don’t think everybody knows about it,” he said.

The Center for Academic Success offers free basic tutorial services, mostly by walk-in, for various subjects.

“In addition to regularly scheduled study skills and reading proficiency workshops, supplemental instruction sessions for many quantitative UA courses, and a diverse array of course-based tutorial sessions, the CAS fosters collaborative relationships among faculty, academic departments and other service units on campus,” the Center for Academic Success website reads.

From Dunne’s perspective, tutoring is important for students because professors have such an in-depth understanding of the material covered, so sometimes there is a divide between the professor’s understanding and the student’s.

“Sometimes I think it’s hard for the professors to explain this information in a way that the students can understand,” he said. “So, having a student tutor kind of in the middle is a good way to explain it more to the level that the students understand.”

Kara MacIntyre, a junior majoring in microbiology, recently founded Bama Tutors for Service. The organization offers free tutoring for students on campus, but it has seen most of its success with local elementary, middle and high school students so far.

Student tutors in the organization receive service hours through SLPro when they assist others, and they tutor in whatever subject and grade they feel comfortable working with.

MacIntyre said she went and searched for tutoring herself because she likes to receive it for her classes.

“The professors don’t have time to meet with everyone for as long as [students] might need because they have a lot of other demands,” MacIntyre said. “[Tutoring is] really helpful if you have a question to get one-on-one help because they might have to explain it several times depending on your level of understanding.”