Due to the health risks of meeting in person during COVID-19, the UF Teaching Center has offered collaborative settings to students online.
The Teaching Center, located in Broward Hall, has continued from this summer and offers remote drop-in appointments, test reviews, Q&As and scheduled private appointments, Leesa Lloyd, an administrative support assistant at the center, said. The center remains closed to students and staff, but in the virtual world, any student is welcome.
It hosts remote test reviews for different calculus and chemistry courses and posts the material on their website afterward, Lloyd said. This means that students are able to go back and watch the recordings as much as they would like.
“I don’t think anybody was ready for this pandemic,” Lloyd said. “But I think as a whole the center has adjusted really well for that.”
The center’s exam review for Chemistry 1 reached nearly 2,000 views, she said. She also said private appointments have reached the full capacity of 80 appointments a week, and they see around seven to 10 students per day in math labs.
Lloyd said that before COVID-19, they would see about 150 students in reviews, depending on the subject. She said the center plans to implement more online resources after the COVID-19 pandemic due to the increase in turnout at reviews.
The tutoring program is still hiring students for the Fall semester, but has been interviewing applicants remotely, Lloyd said. Tutors are expected to have an overall 3.5 GPA, an A in the class they are applying to tutor for and strong recommendations.
However, they still face challenges, one being getting the word out to students that the center is still open.
“I like to say we’re the best-kept secret on campus,” Lloyd said. “It’s a shame that more people don’t realize it.”
The service relies on professors, social media and word of mouth to spread information, Lloyd said. It also partners with First Year Florida, a course that helps first-year students transition to UF, to give virtual tours to connect students, who may not be able to go on campus, with the center.
The center made the switch to virtual tours with FYF during the Summer, said Denise Dixon, administrative services specialist for the center.
She said that the service is especially helpful for students who are tackling challenging math
and science courses, which they have to pass for their major.
“Even though we’re not in person we’re still here to help,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd said it’s important for students to use free services like the Teaching Center, especially now.
“The university is so big, and especially if you start as a freshman and may not have the foundation of the best study services or you’re on your own for the first time,” Lloyd said.
Hao Wang, a 20-year-old UF economics sophomore, used the center for the first time this Fall. He watched a recorded exam review from the Teaching Center to study for a Calculus 3 exam. Using both the center’s and his professor’s reviews, he was able to pass the exam.
He said the center provided additional examples and sample questions for him to study.
“The method they use aligns with what the teachers are teaching,” he said. “It’s pretty easy for me to understand.”
Wang also said he felt the review covered nearly all of the exam material. He said he plans to watch the next review whenever it’s posted.
Sophia Prendiville, a 19-year-old UF mathematics sophomore, appreciated that the reviews were recorded because she could review for Calculus 3 when she had time for it.
“It reiterated a lot of material that was just stuff that you have to practice to really feel comfortable with,” Prendiville said. “I felt like it was pretty accurate to what was on the exam.”