The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TCC learning labs assist students in tougher classes

By Ashley Johnson/tr news editor

Free tutoring and student services provided at TCC learning labs offer academic support to help students in their classes.

Without the labs, TR student Montana Ybarra said she would struggle in her weaker subjects. The support from the labs has helped her a great deal.

“There are so many places here to offer you help to improve your grades,” she said. “Going to the labs has made me more confident in my work, the tutors push me even when I feel like I can’t do it.”

Discovery center coordinator Stevie Blakely said tutoring outside of school is expensive, so the free tutoring services on campus benefit students.

“Tutoring isn’t cheap, and some people just can’t afford it,” she said. “If the school didn’t provide these kinds of free services, I think many students would struggle to be successful academically.”

The center is one of the campus’ four learning labs. The lab provides free one-on-one tutoring for many subjects and academic support for students falling behind. If students are placed on academic suspension, advisors will send them to the center to set up a success plan, Blakely said.

“We try to come up with strategies to help students be more successful,” she said. “It has been proven that when students check in periodically throughout the semester, they bring up their grades.”

Freshman Fabian Robles said the center gives him the extra boost he needs to do well. He said he would feel lost without it.

“This lab is so beneficial to me. I’ve received tutoring from almost every tutor in the Discovery Center, and everyone is positive about helping me here,” he said. “I always feel good when I walk through the door because if I’m not comprehending something, I know the tutors are going to help me.”

TR sophomore Nehemiah Cagnolatti said without the help from the math lab, his test grades would be terrible.

“Every time I go to the math lab, I always receive a better understanding of my math assignments, and they have helped me to pass my tests,” he said.

The TR math lab helps about 4,000 students each semester and provides one-on-one tutoring for all levels of math at TCC, said lab manager Jason Nguyen.

“The math tutors are professionals,” she said. “They are here Monday through Sunday. No other campus is open past 5 on Friday except ours. The math lab is open until 8 p.m. It’s there. It’s just up to students to come. We provide all the services that we can and give them all the information that they need to know.”

Ybarra appreciates the extended lab hours.

“The labs are open weekends, and that really benefits me because I go to the math lab on Sundays,” she said. “I hate math, but the tutors are always there to help me and make sure that I understand. I’ve seen an improvement in my math since going there.”

Nguyen has seen improved grades for students who visit regularly, he said.

“When students come, I see a big difference. I see that it benefits students a lot if they take the time to come every time they have class,” he said. “If they stop by and do their homework, they should do well on their tests.”

Science learning lab tutor Jessica Krizo said the science lab has many resources.

“The science lab has a lot of models for the anatomy students, and there are microscopic slides for biology people,” she said. “There are study areas, microscopes and all kinds of equipment that most people don’t have anywhere else.”

If students need tutoring, everyone working in the science lab is a tutor, Krizo said. They each have a science degree or background and are there to help the students, she said.

Casey Parkhurst, a TCC student since 2008, said his grades would suffer without the help he receives from the learning labs.

“I depend on these labs a lot because my skills in math and writing aren’t that great,” he said.

Instructional associate Samantha Windschitl said the writing and learning center works with students one-on-one to get them caught up and to teach them writing skills that will stick with them.

“Students will be writing for the rest of their college careers,” she said. “And we are really trying to make sure that we give them skills that they can keep using.”

The writing lab helps students correct their papers and enhance their writing, Windschitl said. The tutors also help students with basic computer skills. Like all the other learning labs, the writing lab provides students with free access to computers and the Internet, she said.

“Once we point out things in their paper that need to be done differently, I still have students coming back telling me, ‘Oh, I remember when you told me not to use contractions, and, look, I didn’t,’” she said. “We even hear it back from professors that they see students’ grades greatly improve when they come to the writing center.”

TR English department chair Jim Schrantz said many of his students use the writing lab, and it reflects in their grades.

“I have seen students improve by two and three letter grades when they work closely with the tutors in the lab because the tutors can help with every stage of the writing process,” he said.

Student Faith Chaney said she loves the writing lab because the assistants help bring her paper up to the required standards.

“The writing lab knows the different professors’ styles and what professors are looking for and require,” she said. “They are specific in tailoring your paper, and that’s great.”

Windschitl said professors can’t always provide one-on-one help, but the learning labs are dedicated to offering the help students may need outside of class. The labs give students the extra boost of confidence they need to do well, she said.

“The labs in general are resources students should really use,” she said. “If you’re having trouble, someone can provide a different viewpoint to supplement what you’re learning in class so that you can understand.”

Chaney has been impressed with all the TCC labs.

“Each lab is very unique in the way that it helps students,” she said. “They’re all been beneficial, and they have all helped to better my education here at TCC.”

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