Academic Success Center provides virtual services to assist students with virtual learning


Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State

The Hixson-Lied Student Success Center allows for Iowa State student athletes to meet with mental health advisers. 

Sage Smith

The Academic Success Center is offering services virtually to Iowa State students as they work through the online instruction period.

When trying to look through the provided services, a five minute video going through the key resources may be helpful. The video can be found on the Academic Success Center’s website, which has a general overview and links for academic coaching, tutoring and supplemental instruction.

Katie Whipple, director of the Academic Success Center, said it’s important for students to review what their class requirements are and understand how deadlines work now that all coursework is online.

Students can still schedule academic coaching appointments through AccessPlus as usual but instead of meeting face to face, they will speak with the academic coach via Webex meeting.

Webex is an online platform that Iowa State has a site license for that provides video conferences. People can join these conferences by using desktops, telephones and mobile devices.

“So it’s a little bit different than an in-person visit but we still think it’s a valuable resource for students, especially now considering students are having to completely rethink about how they do school, how they meet the needs for their classes and balance it with personal wellness and those kinds of things,” Whipple said. “And that’s exactly what our coaches can help with is helping students figure out a plan now that this has kind of been a disruption in what their normal routines have been.”

Supplemental instruction and tutoring will still be available resources for students at the normally scheduled times. These tutor and supplemental instruction sessions will also be via Webex meetings.

Whipple said she doesn’t have much feedback yet and that it’s not an ideal situation but they’ve been working to make the sessions interactive just as they would be in person.

In addition to providing academic coaches, tutors and supplemental instruction sessions, the Academic Success Center also has various handouts covering different topics, including a five day study plan and prioritizing tasks.

A handout Whipple said may be especially helpful for students during this time is a document about how to adjust study habits during COVID-19, which includes organization tips and how to make the most of virtual learning. The document was developed at the University of Michigan and was altered to best fit Iowa State’s needs.

“Have patience with yourself, with the technology, with people you might be working with or trying to have these online meetings with,” Whipple said. “We’re all adapting right now and so just giving yourself a little grace, having some patience is really, really important.”

Whipple said the Academic Success Center has also been looking at options for students who may have limited internet access, no access at all or no video capabilities. One of those options may be a phone call rather than video call on a desktop.

In regard to the students employed through the Academic Success Center, Whipple said they were nervous about students wanting to carry on with their jobs. She said the Center is happy to continue having employment for students and most of the students are still working in their roles.

One of the services the Academic Success Center is not currently offering is presentations on how to use their resources and other things like time management. They are working on a video series to replace the presentation experience.

“I had been watching this pretty closely and was anticipating, for quite awhile, that something like this might happen,” Whipple said. “I didn’t anticipate something so severe as going online instruction for the entire spring semester but I thought for at least a period we would have to think about our services in a different way.”

Whipple said her and her teams worked over spring break to prepare online material for students needing academic assistance and the ones providing it.

Students can reach out to the Academic Success Center with any questions or struggles they are having by emailing [email protected]. Whipple said if they don’t have the answers, they can connect the students to the office that can help.