Engineering tutors go the extra mile without the extra miles

Published: Apr 7, 2020 12:00 PM

By Jeremy Henderson

College life in the age of social distancing isn't exactly ideal. But as far as boning up on hydraulics or crystallography is concerned, no one taking advantage of Auburn Engineering’s online tutoring options from the comfort of their own couch seems to have noticed. 

"One awesome thing about offering or getting tutoring remotely is the flexibility it offers. I tutored a student that told me that they enjoy getting to sleep in and just wake up 20 minutes before and not have to get ready," joked Gregory Starling, a senior in aerospace engineering who tutors for Engineering Student Services. "It eliminates all of the unnecessary waiting time and allows for more work, or relaxing, to get done. Students and tutors no longer have to go to campus which, through the transit system, could take over 30 minutes."

In other words, when you can Zoom, you don't have to zoom.  

"I lived in the Village, and for me to go tutoring, it was nearly a 35-minute round trip," said Jack McClain, a freshman in software engineering who receives tutoring in Fundamentals of Computing. "I don’t have to worry about the weather, or walking back to my dorm late, or traffic or where to park."

McClain said he actually takes advantage of tutoring services now more than he did before Auburn transitioned to remote instruction to fight the spread of COVID-19.

"It's just easier to schedule a session, and then keep that commitment," he said. 

McClain isn’t the only one keeping commitments.

“The engineering tutors could have quit, but they didn’t,” said Kathy Friedenreich, an academic counselor in the Office of Student Services who coordinates the efforts of the Engineering Student Services Tutorial Center. “They adopted working remotely as quickly as the faculty and staff — if not faster. We didn’t offer remote tutoring before this, and we all had to become Zoom experts in a matter of days.” 

Hannah Harry, a junior in civil engineering who receives tutoring for her civil engineering analysis class, is grateful that they did.

"It’s been working really well so far,” Harry said. “The only disadvantage is that using Zoom limits you a little bit in how well you can communicate questions and the tutor can communicate answers. It just takes a little longer to hop between screen sharing than it does showing things by hand. But overall, I feel like it’s not all that different from the in-person tutoring as far as what you get out of it. I prefer in-person, but online is going well. I have no complaints."

Media Contact: Jeremy Henderson,, 334-844-3591
A Zoom meeting.

A Zoom meeting.

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