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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Academics & Research

Group tutoring seeks to create a sense of community


Launch, a tutoring service offered by UH, has started group tutoring for students taking Chemistry 1331, called Chem Gym. | Owen Zinkweg/The Cougar

Chemistry 1331 is one of the first classes new College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics students need to take and — for many — it can be difficult. 

The Launch tutoring center, located in Cougar Village 1, Room N109, has created new group tutoring sessions to assist students who may be looking for help in the chemistry class. Not only will the group teach students better study habits, but it will help students create bonds with their classmates.

“In college, you can’t do it by yourself, so you need to get to know people in the same class as you,” said chemical engineering senior and Launch tutor TJ Avbovbo.

Launch is one of the many branches of the Undergraduate Student Success Center. It focuses mainly on tutoring and has many options for students. Launch features walk-in hours where students can show up and get help whenever they need it. The program also offers tutoring in a wide range of courses and topics.

This semester marks the start of group tutoring sessions at Launch.

The first group tutoring class offered is a chemistry course called Chem Gym, and it started during the first week of the Fall 2019 semester. The group covers material students learn in Chem 1331, one of UH’s introductory chemistry courses. While this is currently the only group tutoring class, Launch does plan on creating more in the future. 

“We know this is a difficult class. We are hoping to assist you with it,” said Laura Heidel, one of the student success advocates at the USSC. “We believe that we can increase your grade in the course.”

For now, Chem Gym is focused on helping multiple students at a time understand the material currently being covered in Chem 1331. As of the first week, only five total students have taken advantage of group tutoring. Heidel said she is confident more students will come in the coming weeks. 

Heidel said one of the major goals of Chem Gym is not just to make sure students understand the material but form bonds during the sessions and continue to meet and study outside of Launch. 

“We are hoping that we will build a sense of community and collegiality among the students,” Heidel said. 

Avbovbo, who is one of the tutors of Chem Gym, said he has seen students in similar group workshops become friends and work together outside of tutoring.

“They will go out and not even need us. Most times when they get to meet people from their class they decide ‘Hey, we are gonna figure this out on our own,'” Avbovbo said. “It helps them in the long run. It does a really good job.”

Exploratory studies transfer student Rodney Ogenche was one of the students who went to the first week of Chem Gym. He said he believed it was helping him understand the material in class.

“I will look to meet with a study group outside of class, I think that will help,” Ogenche said.

Heidel noted that one-on-one tutoring has proved effective in the past. Last spring semester, students who came in for Calculus 1 tutoring had an 80 percent pass rate, while students who received no tutoring had a 70 percent pass rate.

“I expect similar results from Chem Gym,” Heidel said. “Students who go to tutoring generally receive one letter grade higher.”

Students who are interested in tutoring or group tutoring at Launch can visit the Launch website, email Heidel or inquire at Launch itself.

“We are all here to pass our classes and get our degrees, so going to tutoring is the basis of that,” Ogenche said.

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