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Peer tutoring shifts online as pandemic shuts down face-to-face tutoring sessions

Despite the limitation on in-person meetings due to COVID-19, Seton Hall’s peer tutors are continuing to serve their students remotely and finding new ways to connect with them.

“Our purpose is to provide academic support, making sure notes are done so that students are actually understanding what they’re learning,” Ana Sanchez, a junior biology major and peer tutor, said of her role. “We try to be available for students and make sure they’re thriving.”  

However, the process of tutoring has been transformed due to COVID-19, as peer tutors cannot meet face-to-face with students. As a result, they have turned to Microsoft Teams to facilitate tutoring sessions. 

“It is certainly an experience dealing with the turbulent technology these days; however, I've found that it enables students to have better access to new resources,” MaryBeth Ammari, a sophomore diplomacy major and peer tutor, said. “When I am unable to display the graph from my textbook, I find creative ways to use whiteboard apps and find new diagrams online.” 

Skyla Vitullo, a freshman psychology major, said she has lost interest in reaching out to peer tutors. She explained that she feels like she does not need any help from her peers and that she can get all the help she needs from the internet. 

Other students are unsure of when the right time to ask for help is. 

“A major roadblock is that not a lot of students know when to ask for help because the pandemic has brought out a mentality to push things back,” Sanchez said. “People don’t think tutoring is as necessary.” 

Despite some students’ lack of interest in attending a tutoring session, Ammari sheds light on the inclination and ability of tutors to explain content in an understandable, digestible way. 

“The one thing every tutor has in common is the ability to take any material and present it in a way that is understood by the tutee,” Ammari said. “This is the tutors' superpower. No matter how complicated, it is our job to communicate the subject matter and even in the virtual setting, we'll make sure this happens.” 

Peer tutors are accessible to students through the Academic Resource Center (ARC), which is located in the Arts and Sciences building in Room 242. Due to COVID-19, the center also has a list of online resources so that students can receive assistance in a safe manner. 

Students can make appointments for tutoring through Compass to meet with tutors over Teams for specific subjects. For more information, students can visit the ARC website.

Dareen Abukwaik can be reached at

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