There’s no question The University of New Mexico has faced many challenges associated with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, however, those challenges have presented opportunities for the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

With many classes moving to an online format so students can take classes remotely, the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Center for Digital Learning, both programs under CTL, have been helping faculty transition their courses to online.

"CTL has many forms of support to help faculty and students transition to online teaching and learning," said Aeron Haynie, executive director of CTL. "We offer webinars, individual consultations, and departmental consultations for faculty making the switch to remote learning."

"The Center for Teaching and Learning is amazing," said Yemane Asmerom, professor, Deaprtment of Earth and Planetary Sciences. "I was a fan before the current crisis and I am even more impressed now. They just did a session with our faculty and TA’s. They responded right away and did a fantastic job giving us options and offering to help individual faculty members with their needs."

In addition, the Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS) quickly moved its full flight of services, drop-in tutoring, appointments, SI Sessions and workshops fully online as of March 23. CAPS is UNM’s premier learning assistance program and is available and free to all UNM students enrolled in undergraduate classes.

CAPS is an award-winning program offering peer tutoring and academic support services for over 800 classes each semester. Typically, regular CAPS users graduate faster, more often and with better grades than students who don’t use CAPS.

“CTL has many forms of support to help faculty and students transition to online teaching and learning. We offer webinars, individual consultations, and departmental consultations for faculty making the switch to remote learning. And we have moved all of our student tutoring online. Our online student tutors are trained and ready to help students today. I’m proud of how quickly our staff and student employees have met this challenge.”

 Aeron Haynie, executive director of CTL

As part of CAPS efforts to streamline learning, students can now easily access a tutor using their smartphone, tablet or computer by visiting CAPS or caps.unm.edu. Students can also work with a tutor through an interactive board and can communicate using video, audio or chat. CAPS’ Learning Strategists are available for consultations through Zoom to offer support with learning strategies and ways to be successful as their courses transition online.

CAPS has more than 100 tutors available to support students with a variety of topics including writing, languages, STEM subjects and more in the Online Learning Center (OLC). Students can also submit any writing assignment through the Online Writing Lab (OWL) 24 hours a day/7 days a week and will receive feedback within 24 hours. CAPS also has resource representatives available through chat who can help students find a tutor or connect to any of its services.

"We have moved all of our student tutoring online. Our online student tutors are trained and ready to help students today," said Haynie. "I’m proud of how quickly our staff and student employees have met this challenge.”

Tutors are available Sundays, 5-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Fridays, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. While CAPS has been able to transition many of its services online, it has also kept its 150 student employees employed by changing to online tutoring. All CAPS tutors are UNM upper-division undergraduates and graduate students that have undergone intensive training. CAPS tutor-training program is nationally certified by the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA).

Additionally, beginning March 30, CAPS will offer online workshops that will provide students with online learning best practices and other learning strategies. From a technical standpoint, the CAPS’ website as well as its tutoring platform are mobile-friendly and all systems work well with low internet bandwidths.

There are also resources available for graduate students through the Graduate Resource Center, which supports graduate students. The GRC has also moved all of its services online and is available for all graduate students through individual consultations and online workshops.

Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to follow CAPS on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram or visit its website to stay up to date with upcoming workshops and announcements.