January 30, 2009


A helping hand, right up the sidewalk

by Sean Graham

Students get help in writing, math and other subjects at the Learning Center (Sean Graham/The Current)>

Student LaVoucher Bai at the Learning Center (Sean Graham/The Current).

Record-breaking traffic throughout the Longview Learning Center is keeping the dedicated staff and tutors extremely busy. In the Writing Center, more than 933 people attended sessions designed to improve skills in the 2008 fall semester.

Opened in the late 1970s to lend help to any writing assignment, the Writing Center has only continued to grow. After 10 years of service, writing center director Becky Foster believes students’ views on what the center is here for are misguided.

“Every writer needs feedback during the process of writing, and the writing center is a safe place to get meaningful, helpful feedback without worrying about grades,” Foster said. “It should not be thought of as remedial, but good writers know it is a good place to be, too.” 

Whether one is a fantastic writer or just trying to get through the required classes, tutors are ready to encourage and refine in order to help. The Learning Center would not function so well if not for the devoted students and staff who give their time and knowledge to help.

“I cannot say enough about the hardworking tutors we have here, and our success is due to our fortunate staff,” Foster said. Alternative methods of receiving help include the email-friendly tutoring located on the MCC website. There, students may submit a paper from their home and receive feedback within 24 hours, in most instances.

Good student help is rare at a community college, where students come and go, but several have managed to find their way back in order to continue teaching and experiencing. English instructor Hebah Amin started tutoring in the fall of 2005 and said she would not change a single thing about her experience here.

“It is gratifying to see a breakthrough moment for a student, and it makes me a better teacher,” she said. She said she believes that students should come often, but they definitely accept anyone at any stage of the writing process.

The library offers purple handouts with scheduled times of the center. Foster specified that anyone is welcome and hope that the traffic continues to exceed the previous semester.

Dustin McWhorter, a Longview student who received help there, said, “I have been getting assistance up there for three semesters now, on and off, and I continue to grow in my writing. But I was already earning A’s in my courses–writing is just a little more satisfying for me now.”

Whether it is for help on a history report or guidance on a composition research paper, one is guaranteed to find help here. “We are not about producing better papers. We want to produce better writers,” Foster said.

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