YSU’s Math Assistance Center: New and Improved

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Thanks to student responses from surveys regarding the methods, atmosphere, and all-around effectiveness of the Math Assistance Center (M.A.C.), many changes have occurred in the M.A.C. and many more are on the way.

Among the changes include increases in tutor staff, access to additional computers, and an expansion of online services.

“We conducted a survey at the end of last semester, based on student feedback it was evident that we didn’t have enough computers, and since most of the math homework is done online, students needed access to more computers,” said coordinator Lance Williams.

The way the tutors work with the students is also important. Whiteboards are a really useful tool for small groups working with one tutor.

“Whiteboards. This was yet another resource that students called for. Some students find it very helpful to do problems on the board. It’s easier for them to do problems that way; they can visualize it, they can see all the steps,” Lance said.

One of the new resources the M.A.C. is providing for students is online virtual tutoring. These two-hour sessions are held twice a week. Students can see and listen to tutors work on textbook problems in real-time. A live chat and audio feed are also available for students who would like to ask questions.

“During the first hour of a typical online session, tutors will go over about ten to twelve select problems, followed by a Q&A session during the last hour,” said Lance.

Virtual tutoring is a brand new service, so it is currently only offered for Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 students.

“Our goal is to offer more services of support over time, and so if it’s successful with calc 1 and calc 2 then we’re going to expand into other areas,” Lance said.

As we get further into the semester, it’s important for students to know that there is academic support available for them if they need it. The M.A.C. also offers face-to-face workshops and review sessions for final exams.

All tutoring and final exam reviews are performed on a walk-in basis, so students no longer need to schedule an appointment ahead of time to get the assistance they need.

Lance encourages students to return to the M.A.C. even if their first visit isn’t very successful. Sometimes a different tutor or a different approach can make all the difference. Feedback from students is always welcome; the M.A.C. is continually looking for ways to improve its services. After all, student feedback is how most of the recent improvements came to be.

The Math Assistance Center is located in room 408 on the fourth floor of Lincoln Hall. More information about the M.A.C. can be found online at web.ysu.edu/stem/mac. Students can also receive important M.A.C. updates through social media (Facebook and Twitter).