Getting Assistance

A big problem that many college students have is figuring out how to get help. Especially during their first few quarters, and the first week in every class. Everything is new, and in addition to the huge problem of figuring out what classes to take you also need to fill out hundreds of forms, buy books, get connected to the computer network, figure out your student email, get connected and started in online classes etc. If you do need help it’s super critical that you ask for help right away. Most classes move at a very fast pace, and you can fall behind quickly if get stuck on something and don’t ask for help.

I’m going to repeat myself since this is very important. If you need help with anything related to your classes or the college make sure and ask for help, and ask as soon as you possibly can.

Luckily CBC actually has several groups that will help you with a wide variety of problems. The trick for you is to figure out who these groups are and how to get in touch with them if you do need help. In this document you’ll find a list of resources that will help you with this class and with other problems you may experience during your time at the college.

Getting help at college is not like at a job or even your home. When you’re at work or at home you’re there long enough that you know where things are and who to ask if you need assistance. In college you’re typically switching classes every 3 months and you’re only at the college for a few years. Plus I know that many of you might are working and possibly raising families in addition to taking classes so you have a lot to keep track of and not much free time. You may stumble on to things like the tutor center by accident, but it would be much better for you if you knew where all of the sources for help are as soon as you start taking classes. This is one of the reasons that the college put together the FYI classes, to help you get oriented to the campus and the different ways you can get help if you need it. But I know from experience that in FYI you get a lot of information in a super short period of time. As my son would say, you get a metric crap ton of information. This makes it hard to internalize it all, much less remember it when you do need it.

Beside FYI there are a few other ways you might find out about the available resources. If you you need help in a lecture class, where you actually attend class in person, you can ask other students or the instructor and get pointed towards available resources. But in an online class learning about other campus resources can be much more difficult. And to make matters even more complicated you may need some of the resources to even get connected to the online class. This includes things like getting help using Canvas or getting your computer connected to the campus network. It can be a Catch-22 type problem, where you need to use Canvas to get help so you can use Canvas.

In an attempt to help you out I’ve compiled descriptions and contact information for groups that can help you to succeed in this class. The following list is a summary of the types of assistance offered. Almost all of this information is available on the main CBC web site, but it’s spread out over many different departments and pages. I’ve just tried to make it easy for you to find the help you might need for this class. While you look at this information please keep in mind that I may have missed some things from the CBC web site because there’s a lot there and I often get just as lost and confused as you do when I try to use it.

Help With the Course Material

There’s a lot to learn in every class, and even with all of the materials I’ve provided and put together, I know that you might have questions or need clarification regarding the course material. If this happens there are several ways for you to get help. The first thing you should try is to get my help. This is pretty easy to do if we’re together in the classroom, but also pretty easy to do via email if you’re working on the class somewhere else or taking an online section of the class. If I’m not immediately available you can also ask your classmates, or try some of the other resources described here.

Instructor contact information:

Email – The best way to contact me is by using the email built into Canvas. This is by far the best method as I check this email at least twice a day Monday – Thursday, and will typically check at least once a day Friday – Sunday. You can also send email to my general CBC email account, tsako@columbiabasin.edu. However even though the college filters some spam a lot still gets through, so it’s possible that any email you send will be discarded as junk or missed as I get dozens of messages every day to wade through. If you do send email to my tsako@columbiabasin.edu address make sure that you write something in the subject line about being a student in one of my classes, especially if your email address is something like ninjaKitty90@gmail.com, otherwise it may be ignored.

Phone – You can also call and leave a message on my office phone. The direct number is (509) 542-4397. Or you can call the main college number 547-0511 and ask for extension 2397. You should also note that I’m not in my office much. During the school year I spend most of my day in the classroom teaching, and I’m typically not on campus Friday – Sunday, or during breaks between quarters. When I am on campus I typically check messages once each day Monday – Thursday and not at all Friday – Sunday. So if you leave a message late on Thursday afternoon I won’t get it until sometime Monday.

Office – My office number is T554. This is on the CBC Pasco Campus in the southwest corner of the T Building, which is also called the “Lee Thornton Building”.  As I said before I’m not in my office much as when I’m on campus I spend most of time in classroom, either teaching or helping students. So if for some reason you want to meet in person please contact me and make an appointment beforehand. This will allow me to ensure that we have adequate time to talk and to make sure that I’m not scheduled for a class or a different meeting.

CBC Campus map, showing the location of my office T554.
CBC Campus map, showing the location of my office T554.

Class Discussion Board

Canvas has a group discussion board where anything you post will be seen by everyone in the class. If you have a question you can post it to the discussion board and if another student knows the answer they may post it to the board. Just make sure that anything you post is appropriate for the class, follows the rules set in the college’s Student Code of Conduct (no bullying, no selling, etc.), and uses the common sense rules of basic netiquette.

Comp Sci Tutor

Some quarters the Computer Science department hires a tutor to help students in the Computer Science and Cyber Security classes. If a tutor is working during any quarter they will be in one CBC Computer Science labs and post their availability outside of the lab door. If you’re on campus you can check the labs for this posting, and I will also try to remember to post their availability in the Canvas Announcements section of this class. The tutor may also be available to help online.

Canvas Help

Supposedly you learned enough about Canvas in FYI to get started. That is, hopefully you can log in and access any of your online classes. And I’m assuming this must be true if you’re reading this, because it’s posted in Canvas. But if you can’t remember how to get started in Canvas make sure and get in touch with me as soon as possible!

If you need help with your Canvas account, such as changing your password, you should start with the Online Learning Resources page on the CBC website. 

https://www.columbiabasin.edu/public-info/covid-19/online-learning-resources.html

They’ve put together a great set of resources to help you get started with Canvas, and then use Canvas efficiently and effectively in your classes.

click on the help icon  in Canvas to get help

If you need help with other aspects of Canvas, particularly those related to using different aspects of Canvas, there’s a set of built-in help tutorials and frequently asked questions (FAQs) at:

https://community.canvaslms.com/community/answers/guides/

 If you’re in Canvas you can easily access this help info by logging into Canvas and (1) clicking on the Help Icon on the Main Toolbar, and (2) selecting Search the Canvas Guides. This will take you to the same web page as the link above.

Help With Other Classes – General Tutoring

CBC Academic Success Center

If you need help in any of your other classes you can check for help at the Academic Success Center. The Academic Success Center provides CBC students free drop-in instructional support in subject areas for which there is high demand. In other words, they always have tutors available for subjects such as English and Math. They most likely do NOT have tutors immediately available for Computer Science or Cyber Security classes, but they will look into hiring one if the demand is high enough. The Academic Success Center is located in TD 434 (in the Lee R. Thornton Center for Science, Diversity and Technology building).

eTutoring

Columbia Basin College has partnered with The Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium to provide online tutoring assistance to students through eTutoring. All CBC students have free access to eTutoring’s online professional tutoring services in the following areas. Contact the Academic Success Center for more details.

  • Accounting
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Math (Developmental through Calculus)
  • Microsoft Office
  • Physics
  • Spanish
  • Statistics
  • Web Development
  • Writing

Getting Assistance – Help with Technology

If you need technical assistance with things like getting connected to the campus wireless network, problems with your computer, or accessing your student email the college offers several ways for you to get help. The main place you should check is the Technology Services page where you can find help with Passwords, connecting to the campus Wi-Fi, Email, Canvas, Office 365, and Printing.

CBC Student HelpDesk

The Student HelpDesk is a student focused, student run, information technology helpdesk created to assist students with connecting to the wireless network, using NetPrint or setting up email accounts for more information go to the Student HelpDesk page.

CBC Laptop / Internet Hotspot Checkout from the Library

Students with a valid CBC ID can check out a laptop or Internet Hotspot from the library. For more information, see the Library Laptops and Wi-Fi Hotspot Checkout FAQ page.

CBC Library

The library has over 75 desktop computers available for current student use on the Pasco campus and 44 on the Richland Health Science Center campus. For more information, go to the Library Open Computing Resources page, scroll down to the Using The Library section, and then expand the Computers, WiFi, Laptops and Hotspots section.

Getting Assistance – Disability Support Services

One of the great things about working at CBC is that helping all students to succeed is part of our core mission, and an integral part of everything we do. The Disability Support Services (DSS) plays a key role in this, by ensuring the college provides reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities that impact their education. If you have a disability, or if you feel like you have a disability or struggle in class or on campus but have not been diagnosed, stop in and visit DSS to see how they may be able to help. For more information please see the DSS web page.