by Jade Francis

For one to succeed, especially during the restraints of a remote format, it is worthwhile to turn to the quadrant of supplemental resources. Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) offers access to free tutoring from both peer and professional tutors. Two out of the four total tutoring centers are open right now: the Tutoring Center and the Reading and Writing Resource Center. The Math Learning Center and the Science laboratories are not available at this time.

The Reading and Writing Resource Center is a drop-in Zoom room that operates on Monday 9a.m.-6p.m., Tuesday 9a.m.-5p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 9a.m.-5:30p.m., and Friday 12p.m.-2p.m. The tutoring center are directed strictly by the prompt placement of appointments within the digital system. “On our tutoring center page there are hyperlinks that take students to videos and directions on how they make their own appointments,” said Lisa O’Halloran, the Academic Coordinator and adjunct faculty member. The Tutoring Center’s staff tries to walk students through making an appointment for their first time because it defaults to 25-minute appointments. If a student wishes to make an hour-long appointment, they need to use the drop-down menu.

“We don’t deny anyone. We try our best to get all requests taken care of.” O’Halloran said. Faculty in the tutoring center are passionate about helping students in need. O’Halloran explained how she will reach out to an instructor of a specific subject to find a possible peer tutor if a student needs assistance. O’Halloran ensures that peer tutors are cognizant that their schoolwork and its needs come before their tutoring job. “I always tell all my tutors, ‘you are a student first,’” said O’Halloran. She emphasizes to peer tutors that if they need time for their personal work, they can reach out to her to block that day of tutoring work.

On every students’ Moodle page, there is a shell for Brainfuse. 4Cs contracted with Brainfuse to offer 24/7 tutoring help, which complements the fact that the Tutoring Center is inoperable during the weekends as well as certain hours throughout the week. Brainfuse, which offers six hours of free tutoring, is an excellent resource for students who may need help at an inconvenient time.

Noah Lamperti has been a peer tutor since 2019. He tutors numerous courses including English composition, many history courses, geography, and human communications. Lamperti wanted to become more involved at 4Cs, finding that the position of a tutor as a suitable, convenient part time job. “The tutoring center is amazing, especially because of the peer tutor program,” said Lamperti. “It allows students who are struggling, and even students who are not struggling, in certain courses to receive academic support from people they can really identify with. He analogizes tutors as personal trainers for school. “Someone who is there to keep you accountable and to motivate you and help you out with the same stuff they’ve done in past semesters.”

The adjustment from in person to online tutoring was a little difficult. Before COVID-19, the Tutoring Center on campus had snacks and amenities. Ensuring that students are comfortable over a computer screen has proven to be a bit more challenging. Tutors continue to reassure students reaching out for help that the initial quality of their work is not criticized. “This is absolutely a judgement free zone,” said Lamperti. “Nobody will be judged for the quality of their academic work. We’re here to help and just to help. We’re here to be your friend.”

“I think we’re very aware of the interpersonal nature of the experience,” said Richard Norwood, a learning specialist of 11 years at 4Cs. “So, I think we all try very hard to be welcoming, thoughtful, kind, and encouraging. I think the environment isn’t just about the skills were helping with, it’s also offering counselling, a lot of listening, and a lot of advising. So much goes on between tutors and students that goes beyond just looking at a composition they brought to read.”

Reaching out to the tutoring center for help can feel intimidating, but the tutors really want to help students that are struggling. Everyone struggles from time to time and it is nothing to be ashamed of. “It’s really a remarkable program of help,” said Norwood. “Not every school offers this. Not every college has these resources. I hope students know this is here.”

To visit the Reading and Writing Resource Center, find the Zoom link on My4C’s to join in once that digital button is pressed upon. Following this, type in ‘ccccwritingcenter’ and if a student is currently being helped, one will be put into a breakout room. To get in contact with the Tutoring Center and to make an appointment, call 774-330-4352, or email tutoringcenter@capecod.edu