by Julie Dodd
Most of us who teach undergraduate classes realize at some point during the term that some of our students are not likely to complete the course successfully.
From the student perspective, not only does a low grade impact the student’s GPA but potentially the student’s scholarship, outlook on college, and choice of major.
As instructors, we also know that we don’t have enough time to provide the additional one-on-one assistance needed by those struggling students – helping some master the fundamentals of the course content and helping others be more effective in their approach in studying for exams.
Many colleges and universities offer free tutoring services, recognizing both the students’ needs and the limited time instructors have to provide additional support for every student.
The Teaching Center is the tutoring resource at the University of Florida, providing a range of free tutoring services.
I talked with Dr. Winifred Cooke, Teaching Center Director, about the Teaching Center’s services to help students.
“It is surprising. Good students are the ones who come in for tutoring, not the weak ones,” Dr. Cooke said. “The students who have a B+ but would like to earn an A or students who have a C or B- and want a B or B+ are the ones who seek extra help – not the students who are in danger of not passing the course.”
That’s where instructors can help, Dr. Cooke said, by identifying those students who are having difficulty in the course and encouraging them to seek additional help. Instructors can encourage students to come to office hours but also can direct the students to utilize the resources available through the Teaching Center.