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How Effective Is The Use of A Discord Server For An Engineering Learning Center?
Discord is a text, voice, and video calls digital communication platform. While it is widely used for social networking among students, it can also be used as a virtual chat room for a specific community. Most universities have a student learning community with peer tutoring services on campus. Since the onset of COVID-19 in Spring 2020, these services moved online to platforms like ZOOM and Google Meet/Hangout/Chat rooms. While the move was inevitable, and thought initially to be a temporary solution, as of Fall 2021 it appears to be a longer term one. At ____ University, attendance and usage of such services has also decreased significantly. This work investigates the primary reasons online tutoring services are not perceived as useful for student learning and if the use of one platform over the other has a significant effect on its usage. The Engineering Learning Center at ____ University serves as a space for students to build study groups and provides free peer tutoring for multiple freshmen and sophomore engineering courses. However, there has been a significant decrease in its usage in the past few semesters. The services were moved to a completely online format (Google Meet) in Spring 2020 and are currently offered in a hybrid format (Discord server and in person). Specific questions will be explored: Are online platforms a distraction from learning? Does the prevalence of other online homework/solution tools discourage the use of tutoring services? What strategies can universities implement to increase the usage of these services online?