Computer science tutoring comes to Center for Academic Achievement

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Students can now grab some java and get tutored in their first- and second-year computer science classes at the Center for Academic Achievement (CAA).

Elaine Hunyadi, CAA director of social science, business and technology tutoring, said the decision was part of a larger university initiative to centralize tutoring at the library.

“The world is moving towards technology, so we wanted to support that,” Hunyadi said.

Tutors at the CAA help students learn the basics of programming, including understanding concepts, effectively breaking down problems and following syntax rules.

“Although I did try to help them out since I was a computer science student, it wasn’t official because we didn’t offer computer science tutoring,” said third-year computer science major and CAA tutor Mazharul Majumder. “Elaine also saw that, and we thought we could come up with the idea of there being a computer science section here.”

In addition to Majumder, second-year computer science major Aashish Shrestha has also been hired as a tutor.

Unofficial tutoring was previously offered at a classroom in Science East. Shrestha noted that this type of tutoring wasn’t covering the needs of all computer science students.

“When students walk in there, they don’t really know everyone, so they don’t know who to talk to about their course material,” Shrestha said. “But if you come over (to the CAA), you can actually go talk to someone in private, so it’s much easier.”

Hunyadi said one of the challenges of establishing the computer science tutoring has been finding a space for it.

“We’ll just have to see how much traffic we get, if that’s something that would need to be expanded,” Hunyadi said.

Majumder said it was difficult to use the CAA’s laptops when he piloted the tutoring service last semester, since it took time to download software that would be wiped away at the end of the day.

Mike Stackhouse, adjunct professor of Computer Science and Information Systems, has been helping support the new tutoring service.

“We’re trying to strengthen the relationship with the computer science department,” Stackhouse said. “(The computer science department) does seem to be one of the underserved groups in the university.”

Shrestha said he’s excited to learn more through the job.

“Even though you know programming, the more you go into it with different people, you discover different ways of solving the same problem over and over again,” Shrestha said. “Everyone has their own style of doing things.”

Majumder is also excited about the work.

“For me, I’ve been teaching ever since I was 16, so I actually love teaching,” Majumder said. “Also, it gives me a review of what I’ve already learned.”

Hunyadi hopes students use the service.

“I think we won’t really know what to do until we’ve done it for a little bit to see what the problems and challenges and successes are, and then we can reflect on that at the end of the semester and go forward,” Hunyadi said. “We’re really interested in just getting people to come here and use the service.”

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