Expanding Equitable access to Learning and Community.

by Ali Ghorbanpour
Lead Professional Tutor, Physics Adjunct Instructor, The Art & Science and Learning Commons Department

I am a professional lead tutor and adjunct instructor at Lansing Community College. These two positions have helped me to understand the importance of teaching and learning in the community college. I have seen many students who come to the Learning Commons to get help from professional tutors. Some of them are young and almost full-time students, but some of them are in their middle ages who have families and work sometimes two jobs to take care of their families and their tuitions. It is more likely that some of these students miss some important classes or services that the College offers due to their obligations outside of the College.

In the Learning Commons, we help students with their assignments, projects, and sometimes we help them with the exams’ prep review materials. There were a couple of times in the Learning Commons that I would see students who missed the prep-review session that instructors have in the class before the exam. So, they would come to the Learning Commons in the last minutes to get help. As a tutor I would see these busy students have anxiety before the exam that could cause them to perform poorly.

This was something that I would see every semester that students struggle with, so I started to think how I could employ the Learning Commons’ resources to develop a program to provide workshops at different times, besides the class times. So, I developed a program which is called Math Exam Prep Parties that provide face-to-face, online-synchronous and online-asynchronous services of prep reviews for exams. This program was developed by cooperation with instructors who teach STEM courses and professional tutors. We have developed online real time prep review sessions for students who are not available to participate in the class, and developed D2L shells that include the recorded version of all prep reviews. All students can self-enroll to these D2L shells and watch the recorded sessions at any time. This project has greatly expanded access to busy students who are looking for study guides and resources.

This is important to make sure all students have equitable access to the services that the College offers. Specifically in the online environment students still need access to the community of learning. I worked and continue to work to make sure this happens in all aspects at the College. I have learned at LCC that learning is a social process where students learn best from each other, and I strive to foster that place of learning.