In March, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville went fully online due to COVID-19. Students and faculty were sent home to finish the semester virtually.
The Writing Center and Tutoring Services had to make quick adjustments and figure out a way to help students over a virtual meeting. Tutors spent part of their extended spring break learning how to provide effective tutoring virtually. Tutors then spent the rest of the spring semester tutoring and helping students online.
Will Bierman, a UW-Platteville student, had nothing but good things to say about the virtual meetings. “I was kind of skeptical about meeting with a tutor virtually for the first time, but afterward I realized that it was still very effective and a great resource to have, especially while we are online.”
Fast-forward to the start of the fall semester, when the University of Wisconsin-Platteville decided to provide classes and services online and in person. The Writing Center and Tutoring Services followed the same route by meeting students face-to-face while wearing a face mask, staying six feet apart and continuing to meet students virtually from home where they host the majority of their meetings.
When asked if the number of students using these academic services during this global pandemic has increased or decreased, Kathryn Weller, the Assistant Director of the Academic Service Programs, was optimistic. “While we did see a decrease in appointments during the spring 2020 semester, we are very encouraged by the increase of the number of students using our in-person and virtual services this semester,” she said.
With Thanksgiving break coming up and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville opting to go fully virtual for the remainder of the semester, the Writing Center and Tutoring Services are going the same route. The Writing Center and Tutoring Services will only host meetings online to ensure the safety of the tutors.
After winter break and during the spring semester of 2021, the Writing Center and Tutoring Services plan on continuing to offer their services online and in-person.
When the time comes where people can go in public without a mask and not have to social distance, the Writing Center and Tutoring Services will continue to do some online tutoring. “We are assessing what students like about virtual and in-person options and will try to achieve the right mix of services in the future,” said Kathryn Weller.
Parker Kopp, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, was not aware of the Writing Center and Tutoring Services but was interested when she figured out how she could benefit from them. “I did not really know about the programs, but it would in my best interest to schedule an appointment with a tutor for a couple of my classes,” said Kopp.