UW-Stout Writing Center and MathTLC offer Academic Assistance During the Pandemic

Elizabeth Vierkant

Two sources that the University of Wisconsin–Stout offers for students that may be struggling academically include the Writing Center and the Math Teaching and Learning Center (MathTLC). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and closures, these centers have had to change their methods. However, they are still offering academic support.

The Writing Center offers free and confidential writing help for students at UW–Stout. This includes help with editing, proofreading, writing strategies, assignments and even cover letters or resumes for graduate school, internships and other employment.

The MathTLC offers services for students enrolled in MATH-10, Fundamentals of Algebra and Math-90, Intermediate Algebra. According to Laura Schmidt, the director of the MathTLC, these are the two developmental math courses at UW–Stout.

Both the MathTLC and the Writing Center have recently moved to offering their services online. Kristin Risley, the co-founder and co-director of the Writing Center, said that the hardest aspect of this switch has been the isolation. However, according to her, these changes have still been positive.

The Writing Center is currently offering asynchronous writing help. Risley said this means not meeting face-to-face through chatting or Zoom. Instead, Writing Center employees deliver their feedback through email with in-text comments and a cover letter that summarizes said feedback.

According to Risley, asynchronous feedback was chosen because not every student would have the internet capacity to have a synchronous meeting during isolation. Risley also said the Writing Center has gotten really positive feedback from students regarding these changes.

Schmidt said that most of the center’s lectures are available in PowerPoint slides, which are posted on the MathTLC website. Other resources, such as videos, are sent to students or posted in Canvas courses. Instructors are also offering office hours through Collaborate Ultra several times a week.

According to Schmidt, the biggest challenges the pandemic has caused include continuing to offer tutoring sessions and difficulties with internet resources.

The MathTLC offers virtual tutoring sessions Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Students enrolled in MATH-10 and MATH-90 were emailed the contact information and names of teaching assistants, as well as hours that they could assist with questions on homework or quizzes and tests.

“We hope that this article is a nice reminder to students in our courses to reach out for help if or when they need it,” Schmidt said. “Our MathTLC staff of instructors and teaching assistants are ready and here to help. As we near the end of the semester, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us for help.”

Risley wants students to know that using the Writing Center can be incredibly helpful. According to her, the center is often busy at the end of the semester. Because of this, students seeking help should book an appointment as soon as possible. She also said that the staff at the Writing Center really want to help anyone that needs it.
To schedule an appointment with the Writing Center, students can go to this page and fill out the survey under the “Online Tutorial Request Form” link. The Writing Center can be contacted Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at wcdirectors@uwstout.edu.