Students gain tools for success at the MRC

Students gain tools for success at the MRC


Math instructor and tutor Karen-Louise White assists Edward Billings in the Math Resource Center on Friday, Oct. 31.
Photo by: August Frank
Math instructor and tutor Karen-Louise White assists Edward Billings in the Math Resource Center on Friday, Oct. 31.Photo by: August Frank

Math instructor and tutor Karen-Louise White assists Edward Billings in the Math Resource Center on Friday, Oct. 31.
Photo by: August Frank

Marissa Brundige

Whether looking for a place to study in between classes or just feeling unsure of a new concept from class, the Math Resource Center offers a support system for all students taking math at Lane Community College.

Located in Room 169 on the first floor of Building 16, the MRC provides free tutoring, instructional DVDs and graphing calculators for rent, a computer lab to complete online homework or exams and a quiet space for group or individual study.

Math 10 and 20 tutors, normally at Tutor Central in the Center Building, are now temporarily located in Building 16. They will stay there for about another year and a half during remodeling.

Math instructor and MRC director, Kristina Holton, emphasizes to students that anyone taking a math class at Lane should come to the MRC. She explained that some students tell her that they don’t need tutoring. “That’s fine,” Holton said. “We’ve got a lot of study space available, and I tell them to come study, because then if you do get stuck, we’re here.”

For many students, just going to class isn’t enough and trying to study math on their own is frustrating. Both student and teacher tutors assist students in overcoming these difficulties and provide students with encouragement in a positive learning environment. “We know that math is a source of anxiety for a lot of students, so we want to alleviate that in all possible ways,” Holton said. The tutoring is also a free service, unlike private tutoring, which can cost upwards of $25 per hour.

The MRC aims to create a comfortable and positive space for students to get help whenever they need it. The goal of the staff is to help students be successful, and they realize that just about every program offered at Lane or at the University of Oregon requires math. They don’t want math to be the one thing that keeps students from reaching their goals. Sometimes just a different explanation makes a huge difference.

Holton noted that the hardest part for students is taking the first step of coming in. “Once they’re here, then they see how friendly everyone is and how welcoming everybody is and they usually can settle in pretty well,” Holton said.

There are generally about 6 to 9 tutors working at a time, each providing different teaching styles for students to choose from. “People find their different explaining styles, and it’s really encouraging; it’s not intimidating,” LCC instructor and tutor Karen-Louise White said. She explained that the goal is to ask students the kinds of questions that get them to think about what they know in a way they haven’t yet thought of. This means they would be able to figure out that kind of problem independently in the future. “If they have the ‘aha moment’ and discover ‘oh, that’s what I need to know,’ then the knowledge is more theirs to keep,” White said.

Hundreds of students have benefitted from stopping by the MRC to study. “It’s really good to just be able to know that there are quite a few different people that are ready to help you at any point, and there’s no shame in doing it,” LCC math student Susan Boleng said. She explained that if a students don’t learn the same way as their classmates, the tutors can help break it down for them. “Sometimes I don’t understand factoring,” Boleng said. “It’s a lot easier if somebody explains it differently than you’re being taught.”

Online tutoring has been available since summer term through Moodle, so students can get free help for online classes and when doing homework at home.

The MRC is open from 8:30 a.m.-3:20 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6-8:20 p.m. Additional tutoring is also available to students unable to come during normal hours until at least 6 p.m. Mon-Thurs and 5 p.m. Friday.