As Augustana transitions to online operations to flatten the coronavirus curve, work study employers and students are navigating the new changes.
Some positions will be able to relocate their services online.
According to Kelly Lang, assistant director of financial aid, the Student Success Center is working to modify its employment opportunities. In an email sent on March 20, students employed through the Student Success Center were informed about the opportunities to continue their employment in a modified way to suit social distancing.
“Currently, they are filling out a simple form to indicate their interest in continuing their work-study in a modified capacity,” Lang said.
For work study and employment in The Augustana Writing Center, going online was not an easy transition.
“As a writing tutor, transitioning to online appointments was a laborious process,” junior Angelina Gibson said. “There are a multitude of facets that one does not think about, such as: the strength of your own wifi signal and dependability of your technological devices.”
Danny Gerling, writing center director, said that they are prepared to move online.
“Our online platform — WCOnline — is pretty amazing in a lot of ways, but it does have some shortcomings, such as messing up formatting and footnotes,” Gerling said.
The flaws of WCOnline are not the only complications with the transition. Unfortunately for Gibson, her work study position in the Center for Visual Arts gallery as a tech doesn’t have the same opportunity to base operations in the new online platform.
Such positions are more difficult, especially with the threat of the coronavirus.
“My art gallery tech work study is simply not possible because I live with a family member who is at risk of catching the virus,” Gibson said. “In other words, I should not leave the house unless I absolutely have to.”
Despite losing hours from the gallery and her other non-work study job, Gibson and other writing center tutors are able to pick up more hours with the new online platform.
“I was actually lucky to get a few more hours than usual since I have more free time, and a virtual Writing Center can be open practically 24/7,” Mia Werger, sophomore writing tutor, said.
Werger said she is excited to have more flexibility with her hours being remote.
Although there is more flexibility, a major sacrifice for many work study positions, especially the Writing Center, is the loss of in-person connections.
According to Gerling, “The writing center is truly a place where so much impressive intellectual work happens — not only between the student and tutor, but also in the conversations that naturally develop when smart and curious people get together.”
For Gerling, online functionality takes away from the Writing Center atmosphere.
“It’s truly a magical place, and I deeply miss the students’ presence there,” Gerling said. “I’m immensely proud of how the tutors have stepped up in a crisis moment like this. They bring so much hard work, dedication and joy to what they do.”
Appointments for both writing center and academic tutors can be booked online at augie.mywconline.com.
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