Valley College hosts virtual pre-finals “Study Jam”

Finals are around the corner and students do not have to prepare alone.

By Marcos Franco, News Editor

Monarchs are able to study among tutors and their peers, to prepare for finals. (Graphic Illustration by Vickie Guzman/The Valley Star)

The Academic Resources Center and PASO STEM program will host a virtual “Study Jam” session on May 25 and 27.

Students are able to connect with peers and tutors on Tuesday and Thursday night from 7-9 and are encouraged to come prepared with study materials and questions. The event will be hosted on Discord and there are two separate links to join the server, one per day. Tutoring will be offered in anatomy, child development, computer science, chemistry, english, math, music, physics and statistics. Both events will have 13 tutors — all of which are students — in addition to one faculty member to supervise the server.

“Ultimately the end goal for the event is student success,” said Luis Cabrera, outreach and mentoring coordinator for PASO STEM. “We wanted to provide a comfortable virtual platform where students can come to receive any last minute help they need for their classes and to conquer finals.”

Although “Study Jam” is advertised as a pre-registered event, Cabrera explains that an RSVP is not necessary. Students are able to join the session at any time through the registration link which is described as more of an invitation to the Discord server rather than a preliminary requirement.

This is the first time Valley has hosted “Study Jam” since 2019. Prior to the pandemic, the study session was held at the library each semester, a week before final exams. When in person, participants were provided snacks, coffee and childcare for student parents. Last year faculty and staff struggled to find a way to host the event virtually but after familiarizing themselves with Discord, they were able to bring it back.

“When we went online last spring, we couldn’t figure out a way to do it [Study Jam] online because of all the changes that were happening,” said Farzaneh "Fay" Sheikholeslami, faculty supervisor of ARC.

Discord is a free voice, video and text chat app where people can socialize with friends and their community. The website was founded in 2015 and was originally intended for gamers to communicate with friends around the world. Discord has since become popular for study sessions and currently hosts 150 million monthly active users.

Students will not be admitted to the server until the day of “Study Jam” and will receive an error message if they do try to join before either Tuesday or Thursday. The only access students will have prior to the event is a walkthrough of setting up a Discord account if they do not already have one

Organizers are confident that “Study Jam” will attract more participants than years prior, considering a virtual event can be accessed from anywhere. Faculty and staff prioritized student accessibility for the event and due to the platform’s rising popularity among teens and young adults, Discord was chosen.

“A lot of students are familiar with Discord and it’s more community friendly,” said Cabrera. “There have been so many people involved with the planning of this event and what’s nice is that we have the support of our administration to follow through with the idea. We are very excited to see what the outcome is going to be.”

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