Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

Please Click a program icon to view the Frequently Asked Questions of that program.

 

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Modified Supplemental Instruction (MSI)

  1. Who are the Learning Assistants? 
  2. When does MSI start? 
  3. When and Where are MSI sessions held?
  4. I tried MSI, but I don't think it's right for me. Is there another resource I can use?
  5. Why should I go to MSI?
  6. What can I expect from an MSI session?
  7. How are MSI times selected?
  8. What if I miss the in-class announcement about MSI times?
  9. Do I have to go every week to my MSI session?
  10. Are there MSI sessions during finals week?
  11. How do I find out about an exam study session?
  12. How does LSS choose what classes to support with MSI?
  13. Can MSI sessions be permanently canceled?
  14. How do I contact the Learning Assistant?
  15. How do I find out more information about the Learning Assistant?
  16. How do I become a Learning Assistant?
  17. How will MSI operate during Remote Learning, or Shelter in Place (SIP)?

1. Who are the Learning Assistants?

Learning Assistants are undergraduate students who are interested in creating collaborative spaces for their peers to learn. Learning Assistants are from all different types of majors, different colleges, diverse backgrounds, and different years. All Learning Assistants are required to take a tutor training class aimed at helping them be better educators. The tutor training class focuses on helping develop fundamental teaching skills that center around facilitating interactive tutor and MSI sessions, creating a collaborative community in the sessions, and developing mindful, culturally sensitive tutors.

All Learning Assistants have taken the class they are working in and received a B or better and received a letter of recommendation from a faculty member. Learning Assistants are also asked to attend training dates during the quarter on resources like CAPS, the Cantu Queer Center, and how to work with diverse sets of students. 

2. When does MSI start?

MSI generally starts during the second full week of the quarter. The actual start time may vary on when the Learning Assistant makes an announcement in class and when sessions can be scheduled.  Keep an eye out for the Learning Assistant's announcement in lecture, on the course website, or the Canvas page. You can also try checking out MSI schedule. 

3. When and where are MSI sessions held?

MSI Sessions are located in various locations and classrooms across campus including the Academic Resource Center (ARCenter), Oakes Learning Center, and Learning Support Services/HSI Cowell College Mobile Office.  However, due to the current circumstances, MSI sessions will be held online through Zoom. You can find the times and locations of available MSI sessions by checking Tutor Trac.

4. I tried MSI, but I don't think it's right for me. Is there another resource I can use?

Yes! LSS wants to provide students with accessible services that fit your unique learning style. If MSI is not the right fit for you, you can try one of our other programs, such as MSI Study Groups or Small Group Tutoring. If you'd like to explore one of these programs, please contact Learning Support Services via email at lss@ucsc.edu, give us a call at (831) 459-1902 or stop by our office, ARCenter, Room 221 and we can help you sign-up.

5. Why should I go to MSI?

MSI is guaranteed time to practice problems and work with your peers! This is ideal for students who want to meet classmates, work with peers, or get to know new people. LSS makes sure to hire Learning Assistants who are qualified to lead interactive and collaborative MSI sessions. Students who attend MSI six or more times are much more likely to pass the class and are more likely to receive a higher grade than students who do not attend MSI. 

6. What can I expect from an MSI session?

If you attend MSI regularly, you can expect to follow the course's content closely with engaging activities. Students don't have to come to MSI sessions prepared but should be willing to group up and talk to their classmates and work on class problems together. You can also expect to learn effective study skills that will help you in your current and future classes! Lastly, if you attend MSI regularly you can expect to create meaningful relationships with your peers and Learning Assistant.

7. How are MSI times selected?

Your Learning Assistant will try to survey your class during the first few days of the quarter. The most popular and widely distributed times are then chosen.

8. What if I miss the in-class announcement about MSI times?

No problem! You can go on-line and view the sessions times through Tutor Trac. There, you can find the MSI times and the Learning Assistant for your course. If your professor or MSI Learning Assistant has posted their sessions on Canvas, you can also yuse your course's Canvas page s a resource. 

9. Do I have to go every week to my MSI session?

If you want to benefit most from MSI, yes! Students tend to get the most benefit from the MSI sessions if they attend weekly or at least 6 times during the quarter. In MSI, you can expect to engage closely with your Learning Assistant and your fellow students during these sessions, developing communication and collaborative problem-solving skills that will help you excel both in your course and in your college career.

10. Are there MSI sessions during finals week?

No, unless there is an exam study session scheduled. The last MSI sessions for the quarter are held during the last week of instruction.

11. How do I find out about an exam study session?

MSI exam study sessions are limited to those who have attended at least one MSI session during the quarter. The Learning Assistant will announce the study sessions during MSI sessions and an email may be sent to students who have attended previous sessions.

12. How does LSS choose what classes to support with MSI?

Traditionally, MSI is implemented in gateway courses, or. courses needed to declare a major that have high drop, fail,  or withdraw (DFW) rates, or that may be challenging for students in consultation with faculty and department staff. MSI is also offered in select upper-division courses that are "core" courses in majors. 

13. Can MSI sessions be permanently canceled?

Unfortunately, if an MSI session consistently has low attendance, yes. (If you and your peers consistently go to MSI, it won't get canceled!) If a session is canceled but you are interested in the service, please check out the MSI schedule on Tutor Trac as there will be other MSI sessions for students to attend. 

14. How do I contact the Learning Assistant?

Learning Assistants are in every lecture for your class, so you can always check-in with them there. We ask all Learning Assistants to sit in the front and hopefully they're in the same spot every time. You can also email your Learning Assistant if needed. However, we instruct our Learning Assistants to not help students over email. If you need help on the course material, attend your MSI session! You can always use tutor trac to connect with your Learning Assistant as well. 

15. How do I find out more information about the Learning Assistant?

You can check out the MSI Learning Assistant's profile on the Learning Assistants and Tutors Staff Page or through Tutor Trac. On the page, you will find a picture and their personal statement. On Tutor Trac, you will find the times and locations of the MSI sessions they are leading as well as their contact information.

16. How do I become a Learning Assistant?

Every quarter, LSS hires tutors in the Division of the Arts, Division of Humanities, Division of Physical & Biological Sciences, Division of Social Sciences and Baskin School of Engineering. Students who apply must be in good academic standing as determined by your college as well as have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher. Please review our Student Job page if you are interested in becoming a part of the LSS team. Also, feel free to contact our office at (831) 459-4333 or at lssjobs@ucsc.edu with any questions about our hiring process.

17. How will MSI operate during Remote Learning, or Shelter in Place (SIP)?

MSI, along with all other programs under LSS, will continue operating virtrually. Sessions will be facilitated via zoom. All zoom links can be found on Tutor Trac, once sessions begin. You can also check with your course's Canvas page to see if your Learning Assistant has posted session information there as well. 

Small Group Tutoring (SGT)

  1. How do I sign-up for tutoring?
  2. What can I expect from my tutoring sessions?
  3. Who is eligible for tutoring?
  4. When can I sign up for a tutor?
  5. Is the tutoring one-on-one or with a group?
  6. Who are the tutors?
  7. How much tutoring can I receive?
  8. Is there drop-in tutoring?
  9. If I am receiving tutoring, do I need to attend lecture or section?
  10. What if when I sign-up on the Tutor Trac system there are no tutors available for my class?
  11. What if I find a tutor for my class but I can’t meet at the times listed?
  12. Are there any requirements for attending tutoring?
  13. How do I contact my tutor?
  14. Where are the tutoring sessions held?
  15. What if I have to cancel a session?
  16. What if I need reschedule my tutoring session?
  17. What if I no longer need or want to meet with my tutor?
  18. What if I am having problems with my tutor?
  19. Does tutoring happen during Finals Week?
  20. What if I need accommodations during my tutoring sessions?
  21. How do I become a tutor?
  1. How do I sign-up for tutoring?

Visit our Page for Instructions and Video Tutorials (coming soon)

  1. What can I expect from my tutoring sessions?

The tutoring sessions are meant to be interactive. You are expected to participate: to ask and to answer questions, to clarify important concepts and to develop study strategies that are important for your discipline. Sessions meet weekly for one hour and 15 minutes To see what you can do to prepare, please visit our Program homepage

  1. Who is eligible for tutoring?

All UCSC undergraduate students are eligible for up to 2.5 hours per week of tutoring.

  1. When can I sign up for a tutor?

Sign-ups are done on-line on the Tutor Trac Portal using your Gold username and Password. Sign-ups begin on the Friday of the first full week of the quarter.

  1. Is the tutoring one-on-one or with a group?

Each tutoring session is set to 6 students, but may increase up to 7 students if space is needed. One-on-one tutoring is only available for writing sessions and students with accommodations provided by the DRC.

Please note that beginning Fall 2020, some courses will have individual tutoring. Please check out the supported classes page to find out if your course offers individual tutoring. 

  1. Who are the tutors?

All of our tutors are undergraduate students in good academic standing who have received a B or better in the class that they are tutoring. In addition, each tutor is required to participate in quarterly training.

  1. How much tutoring can I receive?

You may receive 2.5 of tutoring per week in each class that you are taking. If you are interested in an additional hour please contact LSS. 

  1. Is there drop-in tutoring?

Generally, no. When you sign up for a tutor using Tutor Trac you are making a commitment to attend the session each week.

LSS does offer Individual tutoring appointments for Writing, Math, Chemistry, and Engineering and individual appointments for selected courses. Please refer to question 5 for more information. 

  1. If I am receiving tutoring, do I need to attend lecture or section?

Absolutely! Our services are supplemental and are meant to help you develop your understanding of the course material. You will get much more out of your sessions if you attend lectures and sections regularly.

  1. What if when I sign-up on Tutor Trac there are no tutors available for my class?

If there are no available tutors for your class, you can add your name to the waitlist on our website. We will contact our current employees and applicants to see if they can fulfill your waitlist request.

  1. What if I find a tutor for my class but I can’t meet at the times listed?

If there is a tutor available for your class but you cannot attend any of the times listed, submit a waitlist request on our website. Make sure to specify that you cannot attend any currently scheduled sessions.

  1. Are there any requirements for attending tutoring?

Tutoring is only a supplement to your attending lecture, section, Professor and TA office hours, and completing reading and homework assignments.

  1. How do I contact my tutor?

After you sign up for a session, you will receive an automatic email with your tutor’s contact information. The tutor should contact you within 24 hours. If you have any problems contacting your tutor, please contact Learning Support Services at lss@ucsc.edu 

  1. Where are the tutoring sessions held?

All tutoring sessions are held on campus in an academic setting. Tutoring sessions cannot be held in dorm rooms, dorm lounges, or cafes with music. There is space available at the Academic Resources Center and at the Oakes Learning Center. Your tutor gets to decide the exact location of the tutoring session. 

*Please note that all sessions have been moved to remote learning beginning Spring 2020 via zoom and continue to  be held remotely in Fall 2020 until further notice 

  1. What if I have to cancel a session?

Please give your tutor at least 24 hours advanced notice if you need to cancel a session. 

  1. What if I need to reschedule my tutoring session?

If it is a permanent change, check on Tutor Trac for another available session you may be able to make. If it is a temporary change, you can check with your tutor to see if they can accommodate your request. Please be respectful of your tutor’s schedule and time commitments.

  1. What if I no longer need or want to meet with my tutor?

Please let both the tutor and our office know about this change, and then either remove yourself from the session or contact our office lss@ucsc.edu to be removed from your session. 

  1. What if I am having problems with my tutor?

Please contact our office at lss@ucsc.edu or visit our front desk zoom hours. Hours can be found on our LSS home page and we will assist you.

  1. Does tutoring happen during Finals Week?

Tutoring ends the last week of instruction unless you make specific arrangements with your tutor to meet during Finals Week. There are also study sessions that your tutor may be hosting during Finals Week. Otherwise, a Math and  Writing schedule for finals week is posted for students on our main page every quarter.

  1. What if I need accommodations during my tutoring sessions?

Please contact Learning Support Services and the DRC and we will coordinate appropriate accommodations. For more information, please visit our Accommodations page

  1. How do I become a tutor?

Please visit the  https://lss.ucsc.edu/job-listings/index.html page for more information.

 


MSI Study Groups (MSG)

  1. What is MSG? How is it different from MSI? Isn't MSG the same thing as Small Group Tutoring?
  2. Is MSG for everyone?
  3. How do I know if MSG is right for me?
  4. Can I use MSG and MSI at the same time?

 

What is MSG? How is it different from MSI? Isn't MSG the same thing as Small Group Tutoring (SGT)? 

MSI Study Groups are very similar to Small Group Tutoring because this subprogram was modeled after SGT; however, MSG is housed within the MSI program because MSG supports courses that are already supported by MSI that may still need extra support. MSG chooses courses that are already supported by MSI, and also have higher rates of Drop, Fail, and Withdraw than other courses supported by MSI. These courses tend to either be gateway courses, or other lower division courses that are important for declaring majors. 

MSG - like Small Group Tutoring - is a weekly commitment and are capped at 6 students per session. Look at the classes supported page to see what courses are supported by MSG. 


Is MSG for everyone? 

Yes! MSG is open to everyone who needs support in courses supported by MSG. 

Some students get access to MSG sign-ups two days earlier than other folks. These students are: EOP/SEMILLA students, students in MEP, Renaissance Scholars and STARS students. 


How do I know if MSG is right for me? 

Some of our services, like MSG, are smaller study groups purposely capped at 6 students. If you learn best in smaller groups, or just prefer a more close-knit and regular group of people, this service might be right for you. Because the sessions are a quarter-long commitment (meaning you meet every week), you can expect to see and learn with the same folks each week, making a small community of learners!

MSG and even Small Group Tutoring are sessions that are primarily led by the students' needs. Your tutor may ask you what you are needing support in that week, allowing for the session to be more flexible rather than rigidly following the content of the course. Don't be afraid to ask about foundational practice; your tutor is prepared to start from the very beginning if that's what's necessary!


Can I use MSG and MSI at the same time?

Yes, if your course has both forms of support, an MSI Learning Assistant and an MSI Study Group Leader, by all menas, attend! Our services are a great way to meet other folks in your classes, and the more you attend, the more interaction you'll be getting! 


Individual Tutoring

  1. How is Individual Tutoring different that Group Tutoring?
  2. Who can use STEM Individual Tutoring?
  3. How do I know if STEM Individual Tutoring is right for me?
  4. Can I use STEM Individual Tutoring every week?
  5. How long are individual tutoring sessions?
  6. What courses offer individual tutoring?

 

How is individual tutoring different than group tutoring?

Individual tutoring is more personalized support that students to improve comfort with the material. Since the session is 1-1 with the tutor, you as the student will have the opportunity to lead the direction of the session and have more time to address your specific needs. However, we expect you to engage in conversation with the tutor through the critical thinking process of concepts. LSS also aims to get students who attend individual tutoring also take advantage of group tutoring.


Who can use Individual Tutoring?

All undergraduates who are enrolled in a course that has individual tutoring can sign up for individual tutoring appointments.


How do I know if Individual Tutoring is right for me?

If you are having a difficult time engaging in group sessions, individual tutoring can help give you the confidence with the material in order to actively discuss it with a group of students in another session. If you have specific questions, individual tutoring can be a productive place to ask them, especially if they stray away from the timeline of the course content. If you are feeling behind in the course or need deeper clarification on a topic, individual tutoring can be a productive space so that you can rejoin group sessions more confidently and participate!


Can I use Individual Tutoring every week?

Individual tutoring is intended be one-time appointments, but if you want to meet with the tutor again, you can schedule multiple appointments with them.

 

How long are Individual tutoring sessions?

Individual tutoring appointments are 45 minutes long. They are shorter than our group sessions because we hope the 1-1 setting can help address the needs of students in a short period of time.

What courses offer individual tutoring?

Courses may vary quarter to quarter. A full list of courses supported in Fall 2020 can be found here: courses with individual tutoring


Writing & Reading Support

  1. What kinds of Writing Support are there?
  2. What is Reading Support? What does it look like?
  3. can I use both services at the same time?
  4. How do I know if writing or reading support is right for me?
  5. How often can I use these services each week?

 

What kinds of Writing Support are there?

For students in any class or major, LSS provides individual writing tutoring appointments.  Tutors represent different majors and support with the conventions of specific disciplines. These appointments are a space to brainstorm, organize, draft, revise writing assignments with a writing tutor.

Specific politics, legal studies and psychology courses are supported with writing group tutoring. This is a space for students to engage with key writing topics as they relate to their course: reading strategies, selecting credible sources, developing an argument, outlining and organizing an essay, revising and editing, proofreading and writing mechanics.


What is Reading Support? What does it look like?

Reading Groups is a space for students to engage in key reading topics as they relate to their course: understanding and interpreting text, connecting readings to course topics, annotation strategies, critical analysis, evaluating sources, strategies for timed essays and short answer responses. Students practice reading skills and strategies outside of the classroom.


Can I use both services at the same time?

Yes! Students can sign up for both group and individual tutoring support for each of their courses. Individual writing tutoring is a great space for students to receive more feedback on assignments that are due soon.


How do I know if writing or reading support is right for me?

All great writers seek feedback on their work and make a habit of talking out ideas, processes, and habits with others writers. Part of the process of learning and improving our work is having conversations about writing and reading.


How often can I use these services each week?

Students can sign up for up to 2 group tutoring sessions for each of their courses.

Students can sign up for as many individual writing tutoring appointments as needed. With both services it is important to notify your tutor if you need to cancel at least 24-hours in advance.

 


Accommodations for Services

What are accommodations?

Learning Support Services (LSS) designs programs that are accessible to all UC Santa Cruz undergraduate students. Students who are affiliated with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and have accommodations for tutoring can fill out the Learning Support Services Tutoring Request Form for DRC Students to submit a request. Visit the Accommodations page for more information and detailed instructions on how to submit a request.