In-person tutoring makes a return to Clough

Students study at the in-person tutoring center located in room 273 in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons. // Photo by Lane Elder/Student Publications

On Feb. 8, the Institute officially returned to in-person tutoring through Tutoring and Academic Support, a unit of Office of Undergraduate Education.

With the apparent risk COVID-19 posed to students and faculty members, the Institute previously closed many in-person activities, including in-person tutoring. The offering instead shifted to an online platform through BlueJeans, allowing students to continue to gain the academic support they needed without being needlessly exposed to COVID-19.

However, while the online option has been a sufficient alternative to continue helping students in a safe manner, many believe it is not as effective as in-person tutoring. With that in mind, the Institute made the decision to reopen in a hybrid capacity, with some sessions being offered online while others are offered in person, to accommodate both
parties’ concerns.

“We didn’t open at the start of the semester because we were afraid of a possible COVID-19 spike upon everyone’s return to campus,” said Linda Green, director of Tutoring and Academic Support.

“We’ve been thinking about how to return to in-person in some capacity since last fall. The Institute gave us the go ahead, and we decided that waiting until Feb. 8 would allow our student staff time to be ready to transition.”

In-person tutoring has been around for years at the Institute. It has proven to be an excellent way for students to catch up on content that has confused them or stay ahead of the curve and make sure they have the knowledge squared away.

“Tutoring not only helps students gain a deeper understanding of the course content, but it also helps boost confidence, promote effective study habits and lessen the imposter syndrome,” said Justin Boone, assistant director of Tutoring and Academic Support.

“Participating in tutoring also improves technical communication skills by encouraging students to articulate their thought process as they solve problems.

A sign and hand sanitizer welcomes students to the in-person one-on-one tutoring center. // Photo by Lane Elder/Student Publications

When planning for the recent tutoring transition, many students expressed concern about whether they were to be given the choice to do in-person or online.

In response, the Office of Undergraduate Education made sure to keep these concerns in mind when going back to in-person.

“Both tutors and students who require tutoring will be given the choice as to whether or not to participate in online or in-person tutoring,” Green said.

In this way, students, whether they tutor or need tutoring, are able to pick and choose whichever options work the best for them given their specific circumstances.

To accommodate for returning to in-person tutoring, Tutoring and Academic Support has created a comprehensive plan to ensure a minimized risk of exposure and transmission for in-person sessions.

“We have given tutors their own whiteboard markers and erasers to ensure that transmission in that manner is reduced. We are also committed to cleaning [up to] five times a day, as well as enforcing a strict mask-wearing policy for admission into the tutoring session,” Green said.

Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are also available at the entrance for students using the study space.

While risk is still inherent in resuming in-person activities during this trying time, Tutoring and Academic Support have taken many necessary steps in order to be safe and appear committed to keeping both students and faculty safe. Students interested in registering can sign up at tutoring.gatech.edu for up to two tutoring sessions a week. They can schedule appointments any day of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., depending on tutor availability.