By Shoshanah Marcus, News Editor
For the Fall 2020 semester, new student and faculty run academic aid opportunities have been instated on the Beren Campus to accommodate students which can help them during this unforeseeable academic year. The recent additions consist of the Stern Coding Center and the addition of experimental psychology to the Peer Tutoring Center.
The new Coding Center at Stern College has opened, specifically catering to computer science (CS) majors and minors, as well as any other interested students. “The center’s objective is to offer services to CS students that complement those usually provided by peer tutors,” Professor Alan Broder, chair of the computer science department at Stern College and a faculty member involved in the Coding Center, shared with the YU Observer. “In the center, we are focused on helping students develop a professional coding style, and to increase their abilities in design, commenting, testing, and debugging. The center will also help students develop the problem solving skills needed to attack coding challenges from HackerRank and other websites used by employers to screen candidates,” he concluded.
Professor Lawrence Teitelman, Coding Center coordinator, shared the mission of the Coding Center with the YU Observer saying, “The Stern Coding Center … aims to cultivate [the] best practices in the design, implementation, and testing of computer programs.” Teitelman adds that the center opened because “there is a recognition that, like at Stern’s Writing Center, students can benefit from such a general service in addition to the resources (faculty, TA’s, peer tutors) that are already associated with individual CS courses.” Teitelman is optimistic about the center’s growth, sharing: “While initially intended for CS-majors and non-CS majors taking CS courses, the hope is to one day expand to the point where we can support students doing coding across the broader college curriculum.”
In response to the YU Observer’s queries about new additions to the Peer Tutoring Center, Meirah Shedlo, academic coordinator of the Peer Tutoring Center, shared: “This year, the Peer Tutoring Center at Stern College has reinstated tutoring in [subjects such as] Hebrew, organic chemistry, and physics. Experimental psychology is also a recent addition to our offerings, bringing our total to 12 subjects. We are pleased to be able to enhance the Tutoring Center in response to student demand and tutor interest in these subjects.”
With the majority of classes being conducted in an online format for the fall semester, students are faced with the difficulties of doing much more learning from home. For some students, virtual classes do not present any major obstacles to their learning abilities, but for many students, asynchronous or semi-synchronous learning poses difficulties in their ability to effectively understand the material in their courses. Shedlo explained, “It is a priority for us to provide this support to students wherever they may be, and virtual appointments have been available to students since we shifted to remote learning in the spring (with nearly 170 appointments booked since mid-March).”
For subjects like organic chemistry, physics, and Hebrew, the Peer Tutoring Center has become especially useful. One organic chemistry peer tutor, Mili Chizhik (SCW ‘22) shared with the YU Observer that “Organic chemistry tutoring gives students clarification on hard topics that they’re apprehensive to ask teachers to explain. Organic chemistry is an essential subject for understanding the makeup of all living things and the interactions between them, thus a solid foundation is a must to understand more advanced topics, as well as pursue a career in the biomedical sciences.”
According to the YU website, “The Peer Tutoring Center provides one-to-one tutoring as a service to the students of Stern College to help them achieve their academic goals. Tutors are encouraged to empower students to comprehend material independently.” Since many classes for the Fall 2020 semester are going to be online or asynchronous, many students are going to be learning the course material independently and can benefit from this resource.
With the Peer Tutoring Center continuing to thrive, especially as the majority of classes remain virtual, Shedlo expressed, “I am impressed by how enthusiastic our tutors have been to go virtual and ensure they can continue to help their peers during this challenging time!”
*To make a free appointment with the Peer Tutoring Center and the Coding Center, click here.