Vulcan Learning Commons (VLC)

The student's second most important place ... after the classroom 

For Spring 2021, tutoring starts Monday, Feb. 1 and ends on Sunday, May 2.

The VLC offers Cal U students free academic support in the form of tutoring and Supplemental Instruction (SI). VLC peer tutors work with Cal U students on reading, writing, speaking, and course-specific content. The VLC is composed of two centers, the Foundry Writing Center  (Noss 110) and the Learning Assistance Center (Noss 115).  The centers are a safe and welcoming place for the student to study, learn, and get assistance from peer educators. For more information, click on the following tabs.

  • SI Schedule for Spring 2021 will be posted soon
  • What is SI? SI is a highly regarded academic support program. It targets courses that are traditionally challenging for students. Once a course is identified, an SI Leader (tutor) is assigned to help support the identified course with SI. Specifically, the SI Leader attends one section of the course (usually it is a multi-section course) even though he/she has taken the course and gotten a B or higher. Two to three regular weekly SI sessions are set and scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Students are informed of the times of these SI sessions and invited to attend them. During the SI sessions, the SI Leader conducts all sort of learning activities with the direction of the course instructor. The professor communicates with the SI leader in terms of content, activities, and review for a test, etc. to conduct during the SI session whereas the SI supervisor (VLC director) communicates with the SI leader in terms of pedagogy, following the procedure, programs rules (such as taking attendance for example), what to do and what not to do, etc. Think of SI as a study group with much structure and support. SI sessions are open to all students; the SI sessions are set and the SI Leader is there to conduct them in an interactive way. The sessions usually start by the second week of the semester. All information will be communicated by you professor when the SI session times and days are finalized.

Both centers are located in Noss Hall. The Foundry Writing Center is located in Noss 110. The Learning Assistance Center is located in Noss 115. Both centers are a safe and welcoming place for the student to study, learn, and get assistance from peer educators.

Services offered by the Foundry Writing Center:

  • Individualized consultation with student writers 
  • Face-to-Face writing consultations
  • Online writing consultations 
  • Writing workshops (WW)
  • Assist ESL students

Services offered by the Learning Assistance Center:

  • Individualized Face-to-Face tutoring
  • Individual online tutoring
  • Study Groups (SG)
  • Supplemental Instruction (SI)
  • Assistance with placements and proficiency exams (such as Praxis, etc.)

 

Tutoring 

These tutoring services are: 

  1. Cal U's VLC (Vulcan Learning Center’s) own peer tutors

    Remote and limited face-to-face on-campus tutoring conducted by Cal U tutors are available this Spring 2021. The remote tutoring will be conducted via Zoom.  Limited face-to-face tutoring, by appointment only, is available in Noss 110 and Noss 115.  Students can self-schedule using the platform WCOnline
                            (
     https://calu.mywconline.com/index.php?logout=YES). 

    WCOnline first time user? Register for a WCOnline account by clicking the link to the left.   Once registered, log in WCOnline to make a face-to-face, an online, or an e-tutoring appointment. 

    Important! When Logging in WCOnline, make sure to select the appropriate schedule: 

    ***If you need help with any writing assignment for any course, check the WRITING CENTER SPRING 2021 schedule. 

     ***If you need tutoring for a specific course (such as mathematics, chemistry, psychology, political science, etc.), check the LEARNING CENTER SPRING 2021 schedule. 

     If you need assistance with the login process or have any question, please contact us in one of the following ways at:
              boukaabar@calu.edu or vlc@calu.edu 

  1. SMARTHINKING in addition to Cal U’s VLC own tutors, there is another FREE independent option which is to use the tutors of Smarthinking, an outside online tutoring company. Students log into their Cal U D2L homepage, go to “University Resources,” then to “Smarthinking tutoring (students).” Students should make sure to enable the pop ups. This option is available yearlong provided the student has an active Cal U D2L account.

    All tutoring conducted by VLC tutors ends on Sunday, May 2nd!! 

In addition to Cal U’s VLC own tutors, there is another FREE independent option which is to use the tutors of Smarthinking, an outside online tutoring company. Students log into their Cal U D2L homepage, go to “University Resources,” then to “Smarthinking tutoring (students).” Students should make sure to enable the pop ups. This option is available year long provided the student has an active Cal U D2L.

Learn more about Smarthinking

*If you need assistance with the login process or have any questions, please contact us in one of the following ways at: boukaabar@calu.edu or vlc@calu.edu

For Spring 2021, face-to-face tutoring is resumed on a limited basis, conducted in Noss 110 and Noss 115,  and is done by appointment only.  Due to COVID, we can's t accept walk ins for Spring 2021. If you have a question, please email the VLC at vlc@calu.edu

For updates on COVID-19, check the Cal U site:  https://www.calu.edu/coronaplan/index.aspx

 

Supplemental Instruction (SI)

The VLC also offers Supplemental Instruction (SI) to support some courses.  SI, a nationally applauded program developed in 1973 by Dr. Deanna Martin at UMKC, is a peer-facilitated academic assistance program. A target course is identified; it usually is a course with high enrollment and high rate of failure (25% or more of DWF). Three persons are involved in the SI planning and support to a target course.  One of the faculty teaching the course (SICF), the SI leader (SIL), a peer tutor who already took the course and has done well in it, and the SI Supervisor (SIS). Undergraduate students who had successfully completed the course are selected, with recommendation from faculty, to serve as SI leaders.  The SIL facilitates regularly scheduled weekly SI sessions. The purpose of these SI sessions is to help students succeed and excel. The SIL must attend class with the currently enrolled students (even though he/she has taken the course and done well in it). There are two to three SI sessions per week per SI-supported course.

An SI session consists of a mixture of the below items. 

  • Going through lecture notes for reinforcement
  • Going through reading assignments from textbook, articles, Internet, etc…
  • Reviewing for upcoming quiz or test.
  • Integrating Study Skills
  • Lab activity

SI relies on students’ participation and interaction during the SI session. By attending consistently SI sessions, students become independent learners and develop study skills that transfer to other courses and disciplines. They also develop collaborative learning work habits. 

Spring 2021 SI Schedule

If you have a question, please contact the VLC director Dr. Boukaabar (boukaabar@calu.edu).

 

How to reach us

Students can send an email to vlc@calu.edu to request a tutorial appointment. They need to specify the course number, course name, format of tutoring requested (online or f2f), and other pertinent information.

 

Additional Information

VLC Staff


Dr. Kaddour Boukaabar, Ph.D.
Executive Director VLC

Ms. Kathy Nogy
Administrative Assistant

Taylor Dunn (GA in FWC)

Dana Masington (GA)

Vision


In support to California University of Pennsylvania's vision, the VLC will become the safe and welcoming hub of excellent academic support and resources. The VLC will become the second most important place, after the classroom, for all Cal U students where they continue growing into lifelong independent, confident, and creative learners and writers

Foundry Writing Center Mission


The VLC's Foundry Writing Center strives to provide academic resources and writing consultation services to all Cal U students with the purpose of helping them become:

  1. More effective writers
  2. Independent writers
Learning Assistance Center Mission

 
The VLC's Learning Assistance Center strives to provide academic resources and tutorial assistance services to all Cal U students with the purpose of helping them:

  1. Succeed in their assisted courses.
  2. Increase thier confidence and self-efficiancy.
  3. Augment their metacognative skills.
  4. Grow into independent learners.
Advisory Board

 
The VLC is supoorted and counseled by an Advisory Board, which is made up of faculty, staff, and students.

Advisory Board Mission
The VLC's Advisory Board mission is to advuse, guide, and support the VLC's director in achieving the goals and objectives of the VLC. Specifically, the AB advises the VLC director with:

  • Developing a budget.
  • Developing and implementing services and initiatives that increase both VLC's usage and student retention.
  • Refining exisiting services.
  • Marketing and promoting the VLC
  • Brainstorming ideas, possible grant activities, social events, etc.
  • University Community, especially students, voiced concerns, suggestions, and needs.