Stressing over midterms & finals? Get to know ECC’s tutoring services

Yesenia De La Torre, Staff Writer

Have you ever found yourself stuck with homework or confused after not earning the grade you were aiming for on a test? You might want to consider Elgin Community College’s free Math Lab, Write Place, and Tutoring Center.  

Joshua Worsham, senior director of academic support services, has been at ECC for seven years and first started out as director of the tutoring center but now oversees all three services.

“I hire and train tutors, work with staff, faculty, and students, Worsham said. “Making sure we are offering appropriate support to students so they can achieve their academic goals.” 

All tutors have a degree in the area they are placed in and some are instructors at ECC. 

“We want students to get to know us before the stress of midterms and finals kicks in,” Worsham said. “Many students find tutors that they end up working with the whole semester, or even multiple semesters.”

The Math Lab is located on the second floor of Building D. Student workers are responsible for day to day operations while instructors are there to guide students and answer questions. Students are free to come to the Math Lab whenever they need.

“We’re not here to teach them but to facilitate their learning,” said David Lawrence, adjunct math instructor. “We advertise that the Math Lab is here for ECC math students but we have a lot of science and technology students come in for help on math portions of their curriculum.”

Lawrence encourages students to bring a friend when going to the Math Lab as it may break down barriers and make them feel more comfortable while working. 

“It’s not meant to be a library where everyone has to be quiet,” Lawrence said. “It’s meant to be a place where students can help each other.”

Students can borrow materials such as textbooks and calculators while working in the Math Lab. There are computers around the room for student use. The Math Lab also holds two study rooms where students can privately study if they choose. Students can reserve a room by making an appointment. 

The Math Lab’s hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m to 6 p.m.

The Write Place

Located in B-274, the Write Place holds drop-in sessions as well as online and in-person appointments. 

“We provide more knowledge on how to be a good writer and practice how to be better readers and writers,” said Write Place Director Scott Vaszily. “My hope is that students are able to leave here and do something better than before.” 

At the Write Place students receive help from tutors on their reading and writing assignments. It does not have to be for an English class.

“We see a lot of students with psychology, history and humanities work,” said Jennifer Altman, English adjunct instructor. “We help with anything in the writing process, from brainstorming ideas and thesis statements to citations.” 

The Write Place also has computers around the room for students to use. 

“We like to see the draft of their current assignment, the description of the assignment and any feedback their instructor has given at that time,” Vaszily said. “Students don’t need to bring anything physical as long as their work is saved online.” 

The Write Place’s in-person hours are: Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. 

Online hours are by appointment only Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m to 7 p.m, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m to 6 p.m and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m.

“Everyone here is friendly and we’re not going to put them on the spot,” Vaszily said. “This is a pleasant place where students can come to work as long as they like and not have to worry about an instructor judging them.”

As midterms and finals approach, students are encouraged to receive academic help by going to one of these tutoring services.

“A lot of students wait until later in the semester to seek support, and often after they have done poorly on an exam or an assignment,” Worsham said. “We always encourage students to come to tutoring early in the semester, before they think they need help and before they reach a point where their grade is in jeopardy.”